To listen means we hear the words that are being said to us. To actively listen means we hear the words, the meaning of the words and we seek to understand the why behind the words as well. It’s like the difference between seeing a photo of a mountain and being in the mountains. Photos can capture details, but they can’t capture the experience. Active listening captures the full experience and is important to level up your communication skills.
Here are some of our top tips to help you excel at active listening.
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Tip # 1 – Be Present
Sure it sounds simple, but is it? For us to be present means we need to shut down our need to reply. Instead of listening to figure out how we should reply it’s listening to understand. It also means freeing ourselves from the many other distractions that can stop us from really being engaged in the conversation. That means removing the distractions of technology, our own anxieties about the past and future and anything else that get’s in the way of our focus.
Tip #2 – Ask and ask again
What’s the best reply to what someone says? A lot of times, it’s simply repeating it back and making sure you heard it right. Not only does this help you understand what’s being said, it also helps the speaker clarify what they meant. It’s not uncommon for us to say one thing and mean another. This is one way to make sure both parties are on the same page! Believe it or not, this will not only help with your communication it will actually speed up your conversations!
This blog was inspired by our recent podcast of Better Business Brewing, our live conversation where we answer questions and challenges directly from the lab! You can listen in to our podcast here, or if you prefer you can also check it out on our Youtube channel right here!
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