You might consider yourself a good listener, but there’s a big difference between hearing something and paying close attention to it so that you fully grasp what’s being said.
Active listening is demonstrated when one listens attentively, processes the information, and then shares their understanding with the speaker.
When carried out properly, this behavior can have far-reaching positive effects in business and life.
Improving active listening skills can benefit one’s career in several ways.
These include strengthening interpersonal relationships, increasing output, resolving issues, and ensuring that crucial information retained, such as instructions, procedures, and expectations.
What is active listening?
Active listening is a communication method in which one actively seeks to comprehend not only the words but also the speaker’s meaning and motivation. You must take part in the conversation rather than just listen to it.
Active listening is a crucial part of effective communication because it maintains a constructive level of interaction between you and your conversation partner. The other person will feel respected and heard. This ability is the bedrock of productive conversation in any circumstance, be it professional, personal, or social.
Why does active listening make you successful?
Using active listening techniques at work shows you are attentive and aware of your surroundings. The more knowledge you have and the deeper your understanding of it, the better decisions and responses you can make and the more effectively you can handle any given situation.
Benefits of listening actively.
Mastering the art of active listening is challenging. But if you can do this, you’ll give yourself the ability to perform better in your job, whether you’re already a leader, aspire to be a leader, or perform some other professional function. We’ve outlined four ways active listening can improve your performance at work.
1. Better communication
It is possible to resolve arguments and end discussions through attentive listening. Not only does paraphrasing help you form a rebuttal, but it can also expose flaws in the other person’s reasoning. Hopefully, this will cause them to relax and consider a middle ground.
Active listening in a negotiation situation lets you fully process what the other party is saying, allowing you to gauge your position better and negotiate effectively.
If neither participant is paying attention, the conversation will inevitably degenerate into a routine of the same questions being asked over and over. In any case, you can advance the conversation by listening attentively and coming up with open-ended questions.
In addition, you can increase what you learn from these discussions by practicing your active listening skills. You can use this information to your advantage and gain more clout.
2. Builds trust with others
When communicating with others, active listening can be beneficial because it can help you gain their trust. When you’ve earned the confidence of those around you, they’ll be more likely to give you honest feedback and help you find common ground when negotiating solutions to problems.
A study by York University psychologist Fay Doell in 2003 confirmed this finding. According to the study, people who actively seek to comprehend the perspectives of others tend to enjoy more positive interpersonal relationships overall.
People are more likely to be candid when you show that you can not only listen but also understand what they are saying.
This is especially helpful when interacting with prospective or current clients or suppliers, as it can lead to new business, strengthen existing connections, and provide constructive criticism.
3. Boost productivity
Keeping employees, customers, and vendors happy can also be aided by an organization’s ability to listen attentively. If one partner is heard and understood, the other is more likely to be content in their position and work to strengthen the partnership. If people don’t believe they are being heard and valued where they work, they will look elsewhere.
In the workplace, it’s easy to zone out, especially during meetings or when much information is presented. Here’s where you need to figure out how to take in the information actively, like by asking questions or paraphrasing.
As a result, the listener is more likely to pay attention and retain the presented information.
The ability to listen carefully is not only valuable for individual situations but also facilitates teamwork. When everyone is at ease sharing their thoughts, more ideas are generated, and the best ones quickly gain support from the rest of the group.
Such an atmosphere of support and encouragement can boost morale and make workers more productive.
4. More knowledgeable
Active listening is a powerful skill that supports learning and can help you move your organization forward, so listeners must maintain a growth mindset.
Focusing one’s attention more narrowly allows one to take in more data, gain a deeper understanding of the material, and retain more of what they’ve learned.
Strategy and organizational change planning benefit greatly from attentive listening. One way to put what you’ve learned into practice is to try to change the course of your organization or to introduce some sort of innovation.
Keep abreast of the latest developments in your field, and you’ll be better prepared to capitalize on exciting discoveries. You’ll better see the big picture and assess how other developments affect your business and where you might find opportunities if you narrow your focus.
How To Become An Active Aistener?
Everyone has experienced speaking to an uninterested or distracted audience. You may want to avoid being that person by developing your active listening skills.
If you want to improve as an active listener, or if you want to help others improve, consider the following:
Be curious: You can motivate yourself to learn more about a topic by fostering your natural curiosity. As a result, you’ll engage in active listening behaviors like asking questions and actively seeking clarification.
Find mutual interest: You should talk about something you are interested in. To get to know one another, this works best during casual conversation. If you and your conversation partner are both deeply interested in the subject at hand, you’ll have an easier time keeping each other’s attention.
Focus on the speaker: Active listening, like any other skill, needs to be practiced to become proficient. Try to be kind to yourself as you go through the motions of learning. If you keep using these skills in conversation, the other person might be encouraged to do the same if you show them how they may pick up some of your listening skills.
Read the room: Recognize when it’s best to leave a conversation: If your conversation partner seems disinterested, it might be best to end the conversation politely. This can help you avoid frustration and a sense of being ignored.
The ability to listen attentively and respond appropriately is an essential social skill. If you use all of its features frequently, soon they will feel natural to you.
Open-ended questions will become second nature, and you’ll start paraphrasing others without much reflection.
Consider what might be getting in the way of your active listening skills if you find them challenging. Do you have trouble paying attention in group settings or dealing with social anxiety during conversations?
Getting help for these problems can enhance your active listening abilities and make you a better listener.