Active listening is the ability to listen with a high degree of emotional participation and cognitive attention. Have you ever thought about how many things you could learn from others if you put yourself in Active Listening?
Active Listening: why it is important to listen actively
How much could you improve your life and relationships if you learned the concept of “Active Listening”?
What is Active Listening?
By Active Listening is meant the ability to silence within oneself, activating a state of active participation. In other words, it is about being available and attentive to what is communicated to us by our interlocutor. Listening actively includes specific actions: observing, participating, welcoming, allying, accepting and being authentic.
It will certainly seem a trivial concept, but think about it … how many times do you apply deep listening to yourself and others? How many times do you happen to not understand or pretend otherwise? The importance of understanding the concept of active listening is fundamental to communicate better with the people around you.
Active Listening: how to do it
Active Listening is obtained by integrating the understanding, assimilation and observation skills of the interlocutor. Listening Actively is a voluntary choice. Once a good listening is put in place, the latter favors a quality relationship. Active Listening is triggered only when the bad habit of listening to others in a superficial and automatic way is overcome.
Another fundamental element that favors active listening is the ability to ask open and exploratory questions useful for better understanding and verification. Active listening, if done well, promotes the establishment of positive and incredibly rewarding interpersonal relationships. If you really want to improve there are some exercises to improve Listening that allow you to immediately improve performance.
Train for Active Listening
During my courses I often argue that the ability to listen is the most important of all the qualities and certainly a good eloquence cannot replace the advantage that gives listening.
Understanding, discovering, tuning in, welcoming, feeling close, are aspects and sensations typical of those who manage to put active listening into practice; good listening ability initiates good communication between humans.
Working with many people in companies, in Coaching , in the various courses, I continually strive to make people understand the importance and necessity of listening; for many, to be honest, in addition to representing a great difficulty, it constitutes a bewildering paradigm shift… a real insight !
“I was flabbergasted! All I had to do was just listen while my son solved the problem without having to give him the slightest advice. ”
This is the comment of a student-Coach on the second day of attendance of the Coaching School .
Having adopted the new behavioral patterns of listening, he refrained from responding when his son, returning from school, asked him to explain a problem.
He added … “I realized how much, in all these years, I have hindered my son in building a healthy self-confidence, giving him too precipitous advice or giving hasty prescriptions”.
How to actively listen
It is surprising to find out how few people there are who listen, yet the concept is simple: to listen by “turning off the transmissions” and “turning on the receiver”.
Easy to say and understand on a cognitive and merely rational level; a little more complicated if you go to an implementation phase of the concept by calling emotions into the field.
Many think they have a good degree of listening but the truth is that we are all a little deaf, anesthetized by implicit automatisms, schemes and frames in which we reason, act and behave.
How many times have you actively listened to your employees? What about your customers? Are you thinking of listening to your friends? Do you listen to those who criticize you bitterly?
The secrets of Active Listening
Many people consider listening to be a passive attitude while considering talking to be an active attitude; nothing more wrong! It is the exact opposite!
Listening, as such, must be done with will and awareness, it must therefore be a precise choice.
Practicing active listening is very different from hearing … while many hear, think the answer and focus on the answers to be given; another crucial mistake!
You must listen to the other regardless of the answer you want to give.
Listening requires deep involvement and a good dose of concentration; listening is a commitment because it stimulates questions and insights.
The golden rule to actively listen
In the art of active listening, there is a rule: the speaker never stops!
To communicate to people who are present and attentive it is absolutely not necessary to interrupt the other’s speech … on the contrary … the trick is to communicate (in silence) that you are present, through signs of consent and agnition.
It is also necessary to make a clarification… No specific technique can be used rigidly or mechanically. Only sincere attitudes can communicate to the other the feeling of being heard.
Men love to be listened to and therefore respond positively to the listener. It is the long bi-directional story of communicating “I like you” and I “like you”: a very powerful exchange that can change your relationship life at all levels.
Active Listening and Quality of the Relationship
Listening is the most important means of communicating something fundamental to the other: “what you are, what you do and what you believe in is important to me!”
From here it is easy to understand the importance of listening in relationships of every order and degree.
Become a skilled listener
Well … but how to become a good listener? A first step to learning active listening is to understand how important it is to want to learn and, secondly, to train constantly.
It is necessary to brush up on the biological ability to listen and to recruit dormant energies in years and years of wrong habits.
It starts from learning to keep silent and leaving the other one the right “space” to be able to fully express their requests and arguments.
To keep silent, therefore … to keep silent in an active and productive silence where attention, concentration and focus on the other become the true focus of the relationship.