Have you experienced the following?
During a conversation with a friend, you were speaking on a topic for a few minutes, then when you stopped talking, your friend asked you a question that you had just provided the exact answer to. You just realized that your friend wasn’t listening.
How did that make you feel?
If this kind of incident happens often with a particular friend, would you still be keen to share your stories with this friend?
Most of us actually use selective listening in our communication with others. We select only what we want to hear, usually unconsciously or indirectly, and discard information that is not in line with what we have preconceived in our mind. Some of us simply just block out whatever we don’t know. This is selective listening, and it is quite risky for us who are doing the listening, because if we do this most of the time, we will miss out on important new information that we have not known before.
On the other hand, when we do this, we also do not show respect to the person who is speaking with us. In a way, although indirectly and unconsciously, we appear self-centered and not caring about what others have to say.
If you can practice Active Listening more often, not only will you become a better communicator, you will also be a more popular and influential person. Every one likes to be heard. Every one likes to feel respected.
If you are a parent, active Listening is a very important and necessary skill to have. When you do active listening, you are essentially listening with empathy. Your child feels understood by you, and appreciates your attention and care. When you communicate well with your child, the emotional connection and the relationship between you will definitely be strengthened.
It takes practice and self awareness to apply active listening in your conversation and communication with others. It is certainly doable, and you need to be patient with yourself if this is not what you used to do.
To begin active listening, you need to drop your preconceived ideas, assumptions, and also your ego when you communicate with someone. Think about the conversation like a white piece of paper. You will add information you listen onto this piece of paper during the conversation and communication.
When you do active listening, you help to build a win-win situation for both you and the person you’re communicating with. It shows others you care, and you will also benefit yourself because you will receive accurate information. When you do this more often and make this a habit, you’ll be surprised that you have more enjoyable and meaningful conversations, communication and relationship with others.