Active listening: fundamental skill for good interpersonal relationships. Have you ever wondered how good you are at listening to other people? Knowing how to listen is a skill that develops over time and practice because, although it seems like we all listen to others, not all of us do it in the right way.
People who are very empathic with others and those who consider themselves also successful in the workplace and social, tend to have this skill well developed.
What is active listening? How can we know whether we are listening adequately to others? How can we develop active listening? Which are the benefits that active listening few others bring us? In this article, you will learn about the advantages of active listening in interpersonal relationships.
What is active listening?
Active listening is a form of communication that shows the speaker that the listener has understood them. There are several levels of listening that we can use depending on the level of understanding that is reached in each case:
– Paraphrase, summarize what you have said
If any part has caught our attention, we can highlight the words that have most impacted us. It is a way of directing the conversation because the speaker will expand the information on what we have underlined.
– Reflect on the emotional state, active listening
Besides being understood, you are being shown that you know how you feel. Help, but it is not enough to say: “I know how you feel” or “I understand you.”
– Validate, active listening
Show that you accept what they say even if you do not agree. What is said is acceptable. You understand, even if you don’t agree.
– Fully agree, active listening
There are people that the only way they have to accept the empathy of the other is through the complete agreement of the other person.
– What is said can be qualified as one’s own opinion and not as an unequivocal statement.
You can do this by introducing a tone in the expression that relativizes what is said or using phrases such as “from my perspective”, “in my opinion”. Keep in mind that you cannot accept what you do not agree with, but you can validate what you hear and show the discrepancy as your own opinion. Sometimes one’s opinion cannot be accepted, although it can be heard.
Active communication exercises work if the talkers have a common ground that they agree on. Doing communication exercises can lead to a distancing between those who do it instead of bringing them closer together.
What are the characteristics of a person who knows how to listen?
They are the one who can show a genuine interest in whoever is in front of them but do not fall for gossip. They are the one who can investigate so that the person can express themself without greater difficulty but without interfering in planes that threaten intimacy.
What is the profile of a person who does not know how to listen?
They are the ones who stay with the first thing they are told. A bad listener is a person who does not take an interest in what the other person is saying.
They may reply with cutting words such as “hmm,” “aha,” “ok,” and they may even go so far as to change the subject and start talking about themselves. They usually take a selfish position, ideally making an effort to listen to what they want to say and contribute some beneficial words.
1. The fault-finder
Perhaps you have come across these types of characters who, in response to any comment you make, give them a chair of “our father and our lord.” For the same reason, they have decided to move away from that friendship. And it’s not because you don’t accept any criticism. You even love constructive criticism. But that character only assumes the role of critic.
“Whoever listens and criticizes at the same time is not a good listener, because the idea is to let the person express themselves with little difficulty and find a solution to their problems, at least through an outlet, because as friends we cannot fix the world for that person but to give them guidelines, not scolding“, emphasized psychologist Marcela Callejas.
Remember that “what we least want is to be judged or criticized, surely for the next time we will not go to that person,” said the professional.
2. To whom everything has happened
Everything has happened to them, and every time someone tells them something, they have the answer. That can collide with the interlocutor. As recommended by the psychologist Marcela Callejas, the best thing, in that case, is to allow that person to talk and talk until they have nothing else to say and then intervene. You can say what you want. Even through the examples of others, people manage to project themselves. But be cautious. Do not interrupt to say, “it has happened to me too.”
3. The elevated
Get off that cloud because your friends and family members need you on earth. Stop raising mental balloons and land. There is nothing ruder than feeling like you are talking to the wall. For that, the imaginary friend would be chosen, but no, people need to feel someone who listens to them. “In general, when we comment on what is happening to us, we hope that someone gives us a suitable word,” explained psychologist Marcela Callejas.
4. The therapist
Of course, you want to give that person good advice. But remember that everything you can say comes from your experience, from your experiences, and that can generate a subjective opinion of the facts, which may not go with your friend’s life.
That is why the important thing is listening and recommending a professional who will advise your friend. There will be cases in which it is unnecessary to visit a psychologist or counselor, but others require a suitable and objective person to find clarity in their answers.
5. To whom nothing has importance
Don’t label the problems of others. Perhaps what is not important to you for that person is. Remember that everyone has priorities in life. And perhaps for you, emotions are in the third plane since health and family prevail. Even if the person seems to be drowning in a glass of water, listen. Problems that seem minor to you can be truly momentous for that person.
Tips for developing active listening
1. Practice active listening
This seems like very obvious advice, but unfortunately, few people are naturally good listeners. You must get used to actively listening to the speaker. Including habits such as attending the speaker without thinking about what to answer, nodding, making eye contact, affirming that you are listening, asking open-ended questions to get more information, and asking specific questions to clarify understanding allow you to develop active listening and get significant results.
2. Pay attention to body language, active listening
A good listener can listen with their eyes and ears. Teach yourself to pay attention to body language and make eye contact to show that you are paying attention to every word spoken.
3. Know how to respond to concerns, active listening
A fundamental part of active listening is knowing how to respond to concerns and be empathetic during the conversation, put yourself in their shoes, and respond to their comments or concerns in a non-confrontational way.
4. Slow down the conversation, active listening
We understand that you have a busy schedule most of the time and that virtually every second of your day is worth gold, but one tip for developing active listening skills is to slow down the conversation.
Someone talking at a thousand miles per hour is a problem, as talking fast can hurt the relationship. For this reason, it is recommended that the listener articulate their thoughts and words at a digestible speed, pause in case a point needs clarification, ask questions to guide the conversation, and never interrupt the other person while speaking.
5. Summarize what the person said, active listening
One of the most important tips to develop your active listening skills is to summarize what the person has told you after they have finished speaking. This shows them you are listening, extracts more details, and allows them to correct any misunderstandings immediately.
6. Remember anecdotes, active listening
People love to feel unique and special. For that reason, another tip that we can give you to help develop active listening is to remember small nuances and anecdotes of each conversation.
These details can be used in the next meeting to strengthen the relationship, guide the meeting and show that each of their words is really important.
Now that you know all the advantages of active listening in interpersonal relationships, you can develop your active listening skills to become the professional you want to be.
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