In our everyday lives we might hear people, but how often do we intently listen? Listening can be deeply therapeutic and magical. There’s a concept called Active Listening, which can help you build relationships and connect well with people. Well, it’s time we kick aside these shallow talks. Let active listening take you deeper into people’s worlds and form meaningful relationships. This is how you can practise it.
Be Present And Attentive
Keep aside your phone, bring your mind to the present and be attentive. When you’re fully engaged in a conversation, you offer respect to the one talking. Unfortunately, with our busy schedules and busier mind, this isn’t very common. Being in the present can encourage an honest bond between you and them, where they feel safe and acknowledged.
Every preconceived notion, every judgment, it’s time to keep it all aside. When you listen in a non-judgemental way, you make the other person feel accepted. Due to societal rules, beauty standards, societal constructs of right or wrong, all of us have at least once felt unaccepted or rejected. By offering a non-judgemental space, you make them feel accepted for who they are rather than who they should be.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Open-ended questions are the questions that open many doors. These questions do not have a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as the answer. By doing so, you get to know the person well. Even the most private people sometimes want to share if they find someone genuinely keen on listening to what they have to say. With open-ended questions, you can encourage them to talk more and share more. The conversation would never get dull and you’ll end up feeling connected.
Summarise And Reflect
It’s important to summarise and then paraphrase what they’ve shared. It makes them feel heard and valued. What’s more appealing than knowing you haven’t wasted your time talking to someone who was not even interested? When you reflect back on everything they’ve said, you also gain a clear clarity that will make you understand them better.
Silences are not awkward. You must welcome comfortable silences in your conversations. It gives you time to process the information and actually think about what the other person is saying. If you don’t give yourself the time to think about what is being said, then you might end up talking just to reply and cover up the silence. So, it’s time we de-stigmatise silences and become comfortable with them.