The Secret of Active Listening

dog hearing

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”~ Ralph Nichols~

Are you a good listener or are you like most people when a conversation is over, you forget the majority of what was said?

The definition of listening is “to pay attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing.”  Listening is a very important skill for both effective communication and #leadership. In fact, it is one of the most important skills you can have.  Great listening skills can provide the following benefits, increased #productivity, better customer service, employee engagement and satisfaction and improved quality of overall relationships.  When someone knows that they are being listened to, positive outcomes often ensue.  #Richard Branson credits some of his great success to active listening.

Many people are not good listeners. On average you only remember between 25% – 50% of what people are saying.  But good listening skills improve not only your personal but professional life.  With improved listening, you can gain greater influence and negotiation skills but it also can help you to avoid conflict.

There are different types of #listening that people engage in.  Most often it is surface listening.  Surface listening is typically heard through the experience of the listener and rarely meets the needs of the person who is speaking.  The deepest and best form of listening is active or #intuitive listening. This is when you connect to the real message.  You understand what the speaker is saying but also understand what the speaker is feeling. You get the complete message of what is being said and not being said.

To become a better listener it is important that you don’t allow yourself to be distracted by things going on around you.  With active listening you acknowledge what the other person is saying. This can be done by repeating what is being said, using body language such as nodding your head and using your eyes to show that you understand and hear what they are saying.

Listening is a vital skill and easy to master.  Simply, pay attention to what is being said, provide feedback, don’t judge and respond accordingly. Remember, some of our best leaders are successful due to their active listening skills.  One of the powerful characteristics of a coach is being an active listener. If you are interested in working with a coach, contact me at Upstream Solutions or leave a comment and I will answer.

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