Week 1 of Bits and Pieces helped us learn about mindful listening. How we need to listen and develop empathy when someone else is talking, not just think about how we are going to respond. When we practice mindful listening, we not only retain the information better, but we gain a better understanding of how we need to respond.
This week, we will dig deeper into our active listening skills. Developing your active listening will require some of the same tasks as mindful listening. Check out our tips for this week below!
“The most important thing in communication is to hear what ISN’T being said” – Peter Drucker
Active Listening by definition is to engage your ears, eyes, heart and your undivided attention in the conversation. It requires full concentration, understanding, responding and remembering what is said.
Coming from a person that battles ADD, this seems like a pretty tall order. Active listening is something that I work on every day – some days I am more successful than other days. But, I never stop working on it.
Here are 5 steps to practice (some of these steps are similar to mindful listening):
- Pay attention – look at the speaker and eliminate distractions
- Show you are listening – use body language to acknowledge you are listening, be cautious not to use too many nods as this can be interpreted as alignment or agreement
- Provide feedback – reflect on what is being said and ask clarifying questions
- Defer judgment – refrain from interrupting to offer counter argument, allow speaker to finish train of thought
- Respond appropriately – be candid, open and honest and most importantly respectful with response – respond as you would wish someone to respond to you
Improving your listening skills is a journey that has no endpoint. As you start honing these skills you will experience a different level of clarity.
Once again, we are so thankful to have Bud Parker to share this advice with us. Try incorporating these tips into your life, and we know that you continue to grow, personally and professionally.