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Active Listening- The Master Key to Effective Communication

According to research, 70% of listeners tend to get distracted, forgetful, or preoccupied during communication. At the workplace, this could manifest in brushing off the urgent needs of an employee, missing out on crucial feedback, or miscommunication in tasks.

Understanding the meaning and intent behind the words that are being said to you is part of active listening, which is a communication ability that goes beyond simply hearing what is being said to you. Participating actively in the communication process is necessary. Active listening is also a key factor in leadership training.

Because it keeps you positively connected with your discussion partner, active listening is the master key to effective communication. The other person feels heard and appreciated as a result as well. This skill is the foundation of an effective discussion in every circumstance, whether at business, at home, or in social settings.

Techniques for active listening:

The word active” suggests that as you listen to people, you are acting in some way. This calls for the application of specific tactics or strategies. Here are seven active listening strategies to take into account:

  1. Being fully present:

Being totally present during the conversation is necessary for active listening. This makes it possible for you to pay close attention to what is being spoken. Being present entails paying close attention to the speaker and using all of your senses, including sight and sound. Also, remember most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

  1. Keep an eye on non-verbal cues:

As much as 65% of communication between people is nonverbal. Observing these nonverbal clues can reveal a lot about a person and what they are attempting to communicate. For instance, if they speak quickly, this can indicate that they are agitated or frightened. They can be drowsy or try to carefully select their words if they speak slowly.

  1. Maintain close eye contact:

Making eye contact is especially crucial when actively listening. This lets the other person know that you are paying attention to and present during their speech. It also implies that nothing nearby is diverting your attention.

You don’t want to make the conversation awkward by maintaining constant eye contact, though. The 50/70 rule in executive leadership coaching should be followed to avoid this. This entails making eye contact for 50% to 70% of the listening time, sustaining the gaze for four to five seconds, and then glancing away momentarily. 

  1. Ask more open-ended questions:

“Yes or no” questions frequently result in impasses. This prevents the dialogue from flowing during active listening, which is not beneficial. Because you don’t learn anything from a concise, non-descriptive response, listening to the other person is difficult.

Open-ended inquiries promote thorough, in-depth responses, which is why corporate leadership training also inculcates them too. 

  1. Use what you hear to reflect:

Share what you heard with the speaker when they finish speaking. By using this method of active listening, you may be certain that you accurately reflected their feelings, thoughts, and opinions. Additionally, it minimizes any potential misunderstandings and gives the other person a sense of validation and understanding.

  1. Be Patient:

Avoiding the urge to fill pauses with your own ideas or stories is a key component of patience. In order to understand, not just to answer, listening is also necessary. To put it another way, avoid composing a response while the other person is still speaking. Don’t switch topics too quickly either because this shows impatience and boredom.

You should refrain from interjecting your own thoughts and opinions during active listening in favor of serving as a sounding board.

  1. Retain judgment:

The ability for the other person to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts depends on your ability to remain impartial and non-judgmental in your comments. It creates a safe environment where students know they won’t be shamed, ridiculed, held accountable, or treated poorly.

An essential social ability, active listening is useful in a variety of contexts. BeLeader is one of the leadership training companies in Pune that offers comprehensive corporate leadership training and a one-stop solution for training employees in active listening. Connect with us to book a free 30 mins appointment.

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