Simply hearing what I’ve said does not mean that you are listening.
How many times has your significant other said, “But, I told you that last week,” only to have you forget the conversation entirely?
Active listening would insure that you not only heard what your hubby told you last week, but also retained the information and carried out the task.
Active listening is a technique used by counselors, coaches, and even crisis negotiators. It’s an invaluable technique used in counseling, training, and conflict resolution that requires the listener to paraphrase what they’ve heard in the conversation back to the speaker. This means that the listener is always fully engaged with the conversation instead of only hearing a passive message at the end.
Active listening doesn’t stop at the ears, but becomes a conversation that you have with almost all of your senses. You need to be seen as an active participant in the conversation otherwise the speaker will assume disinterest and stop putting information in front of you. This means nodding, maintaining comfortable eye contact (not intimidating crazy eyes), and a posture that portrays a willingness to contribute to the conversation. With all of this feedback, the speaker in your conversation will be more willing to continue on.
I mean, how many times have you had a conversation with a teenager, only to have them immediately gravitate towards their phone while you’re talking? Does that make you want to continue?
However, it’s simple to feign interest with body language, so how do you make sure you’re actually listening?
Remember key points from the conversation. This is helpful in future meetings with that particular person because they will feel that you value their concepts and ideas.
Ask questions when necessary. If you don’t understand a point the person is trying to make, ask for a clarification without interrupting.
Have the ability to summarize. After a conversation you should be able to re-state in your own words what the person had told you. This allows them the opportunity to correct you if necessary.
How does this benefit you at work?
- Above all, it shows a certain level of respect for the person you’re speaking with. It shows that you respect their ideas.
- As said above, it allows the speaker to correct you if necessary. Which in the long run will save you and your manager time and money. As a manager, this also means that you will be able to detect and solve any problems that may arise in your team much quicker, as you will know exactly where they’ve gone wrong.
- It will expand your capacity to retain further knowledge. It means that you are not only showing respect to those you are speaking with, but every conversation becomes a learning experience instead of just time wasted at the coffee pot.
I have been a Recruiter’s Coach for many years now and implement these active listening techniques in each session with a client. I am able to get to the root of your problem each time through processing your stories and ideas. I am always available to speak with those in the industry for career consultations or scheduling coaching sessions.