When it comes to listening, remember that everyone wants to be heard and validated. Active listening is a thoughtful way to improve personal relationships, further collaboration and reduce misunderstandings and conflicts.
TO LISTEN ACTIVELY:
Listen, don’t compare. Comparing emotions or situations by saying things like,“yes, but…” while sharing a seemingly worse situation, can be interpreted as a wayto minimize or negate what the speaker is feeling.
Listen to understand rather than to respond. Resist interrupting or drifting into thought about what you will say next. Aim to get information to find out more about the person or situation.
Look them in the eyes. Eye contact connects an individual to the person with whom they are talking.
Avoid making judgments or giving advice. People want to be heard, not fixed. Trying to be helpful makes us feel good. Instead, encourage the conversation with open-ended questions, and help remind of them of their strengths and resourcefulness.
Communication is what makes us human, yet we need to learn listening skills and practice them to improve the quality of conversations and relationships.