How do you communicate?
Communication is a daily occurrence. We have conversations with family, friends, and work colleagues yet we often miss what someone is saying. This can lead to a dis-connect and feelings of disappointment, frequently resulting in misunderstandings and conflicts.
The ability to actively listen is important because it allows us to effectively communicate and improve the relationship we have with others.
Actively listening takes effort and awareness. Firstly, it is about recognising what is one’s style of communication, thus self-awareness it pivotal.
Have you thought about your listening style?
Your body language – toward or away from the other person?
Are you thinking distracting thoughts?
In one research study, participants had a brief conversation with someone trained to engage active listening, someone giving them advice, or someone who gave simple acknowledgement of their point of view. The study shows that participants that received active listening reported feeling more understood at the end of the conversation1.
Staying focused and present is pivotal to active listening during the conversation. We know our lives are busy, however there are key active listening techniques one can use to becoming a more effective listener:
- out of sight
- on silent
- body position – slightly turned toward the other person
- relaxed body posture
- maintaining eye contact – avoid breaking state by looking elsewhere
- nodding or uttering ‘yes or mmm or uh-huh’ – acknowledging your attention
- consciously focusing on the conversation – minimise distracting thoughts
- facial expression – relaxed to avoid unintentionally communicating any disapproval
- when the other person has finished expressing a thought, paraphrase and confirm you have fully understood what transpired and that you have been paying attention
- when appropriate, ask questions to allow the other person to further elaborate any thoughts and feelings to ensure you fully understand the conversation
- listening to the other person’s perspective and accepting ‘what is’ even if you disagree or have other ideas
Interruption of conversation
- avoid interrupting the conversation with a counter argument or preparing a mental rebuttal
- taking turns to speak – when appropriate and respectfully sharing perspectives
- ensure you are clear, concise, and respectful
- once a conversation has ended, and, if required provide feedback that is clear, concise, honest, constructive, and respectful
- keep in mind, the intention to contribute does matter
If you are committed to becoming a better communicator, improve and develop better relationships with family, friends, and work colleagues there is a way forward. At Satori Self Development, we provide therapy and coaching to promote personal development.
The place to start is getting to know yourself…it matters.
Give us a call. 0407 906 999 or (02) 46474868. It is our privilege to support and assist you.
- Weger. H., Castle Bell. G., Minel. E. M., & Robinson. M. C.(2014). The relative effectiveness of active listening in initial interactions. International Journal of Listening. 28(1).13-31