Hearing does not necessarily translate to listening. Can you hear me now? Just because sounds are heard by no way implies that active listening is a part of the process. Hearing is defined as having the ability to hear. Listening is the act of giving attention to a sound or sounds. Hearing is a passive act, while listening is an active skill. Serving to strengthen relationships, facilitate problem solving and conflict resolution, and improve personal and professional development, active listening is a valuable skill. Listen Up! Here are 5 steps to make you a better active listener.
5 Steps to Make You a Better Active Listener
1 - Be Focused and Attentive
Maintain comfortable eye contact (if appropriate) and a constant level of focus and attentiveness for optimum comprehension of verbal and non-verbal communication.
2 - Avoid Distractions
Create a mental barrier reducing the level of interference of external and internal influences to better concentrate on unbiased comprehension.
3 - Exhibit Patience
Listen without interrupting the speaker, allowing adequate time for reflective pauses before replying. Consider thoughts for responsive statements after listening to the complete message.
4 - Listen to Understand
Pay attention to highlights and messages to establish a clear understanding. Mentally preparing to question or reply detracts from the effectiveness of active listening.
5 - Reflect on the Message
Evaluate information presented for an assessment of the value of message. Demonstrate an understanding by rephrasing the speaker's message for clarification.