Active listening is the ability to be fully present in the communication, with a focus on reading emotions and what is un-said, as much as on the stated content of the communication.
It is more than simply hearing, it is listening with the intention of understanding and acknowledging the emotions and thoughts beyond the words.
It can be tempting to jump straight into the “solve the problem”, “find the solution”, “respond” mode, but active listening is the process of withdrawing from that mode and being present in “curiosity”, “openness” and “full presence” mode.
How to practice active listening:
1- Establish eye contact and keep an open physical posture
2- Give the other person your full attention, without interruptions or distractions
3- Rephrase what has been said, to make sure you have understood correctly, before you begin to reply
4- Ask clarifying questions, to make sure you understood what was said (and not said)
5- Acknowledge and validate the other person’s issues and emotions
As Christmas approaches, this skill is more important than ever.
Christmas is often a time of the year that is filled with traditions, memories and emotions, which can be both positive and negative. Being present for our loved ones and listening to their emotional needs is fundamental to a healthy emotional balance.
It is also an excellent tool to make sure that the gift we choose for our loved ones is perfect: listen very carefully!
Want to learn other effective communication tools and techniques? The Mirror, mirror mine course has the answer:
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