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How to Practice Active Listening to Improve Your Communication?

 1. Active listening to reassure your interlocutor

Respect the word

The first principle of active listening is to be there, present to the other person's words. You are not supposed to speak at first. Moments of silence are sometimes uncomfortable, precisely because you don't know what to say. In active listening, the idea is to use them to your advantage.

Let the other person speak without interrupting. Let them get to the end of their thoughts. When the speaker stops, you can use this time to reflect on what he or she is saying. The answer then comes only later. There is nothing more unpleasant than someone who cuts you off or who is already thinking about the answer they will give you. In the business world, it's even worse, especially if you're a manager or business owner. By acting like this, you risk disrupting communication and creating tension. The other person may think you are not listening. To be an active listener, you must let the other person finish before speaking.

Respect the framework

Pay attention to the way the other person is speaking. Ask yourself if you are in the frame of the problem. Listen for weak signals - the substance of what is being said, not just the message.

For example, if your employee is under a lot of stress, you can't ask them to complete a task as quickly as possible. You will only increase their stress. You can, however, ask them why they are stressed and why they were unable to complete the task. Is it a lack of resources, information or organization? By understanding the reasons for his anxiety, you can lower the tension and establish a dialogue. Without this step, nothing can be said or heard.

To listen actively, you must know when to intervene and when to wait. You may want to intervene while the other person is talking, but be respectful. You can use the words "I understand," "I see," "that's interesting," "continue," or any other comment that shows you are listening. You can also ask questions to clarify your understanding, require clarification, definition or explanation of an idea.

When you are not sure you understand what you have been told, it is important to state it. For example, "I'm not sure I understood what you said. Can you give me an example?

You can also ask to repeat or clarify certain information. This can be helpful if you did not understand or are unsure of the meaning of a suggestion or statement, to avoid confusion or misinterpretation.

Use your body

Your body communication also shows your curiosity and interest. In meetings, sweep your gaze over all participants, open your hands and arms. Stand on your feet if you are standing. Speak calmly and clearly. Your audience will then be in a calm, trusting atmosphere, in which everyone feels free to ask questions, to question the opinions of others.

On the other hand, if the speaker is aggressive, you may need to use your body in a different way, especially to show that you do not feel threatened by his or her language or actions. If he or she is angry, you can cross your hands or arms. Your gaze should be firm, but not hostile. You can adopt a wider, more open posture and move in a way that leaves an opening. Managing emotions is very difficult in the workplace. Especially when it comes to frustration, anger and disappointment. In this case, the objective of active listening is to lower the tension to allow the dialogue to resume.

2. Active listening to ask the right questions

Sometimes, certain situations are uncomfortable. Let's take the example of a networking event. Not easy, is it? You arrive at a party where you don't know anyone. You don't want to stand there with your drink in your hand. But how do you get to know someone? Active listening is your best ally in this type of exercise. Why is that? Simply because it is about asking questions and being interested in the person in front of you, without any ulterior motive. Ask questions, about them, about what they like. You will learn more in a very short time, with a smile, while leaving the impression that you have paid attention to what was said. You will feel more at ease. It will be a great evening!

How to Practice Active Listening to Improve Your Communication? Reviewed by pite on August 30, 2022 Rating: 5

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