Dialogues that create deeper understanding are shaped by Active Listening.
Yet, Active Listening does not happen automatically.
It is a skill that needs time and practice.
Active Listening needs AWARENESS that:
Sometimes we judge.
Sometimes we simply tune out.
Sometimes we only listen to what we relate to.
Sometimes we stop listening to begin formulating our responses.
Active Listening needs COURAGE to:
Face our fear.
Overcome our discomfort.
Openly witness the reality of the 'Other'.
Allow the person's story to
impact our perspective.
You can PRACTICE Active Listening with these steps:
1. Invest curiosity and ask the other person a question.
2. Suspend judgement and listen openly to what they say.
3. Observe if their expressions and tone tells you more than their words.
4. Validate them through your body language like facial expressions.
5. Use short clarifying questions when something is not clear to you.
6. Mirror back what they said and the emotions you observe from them.
7. Allow them to confirm or correct your interpretation.
8. Repeat these steps in a spirit of enquiry.
Active Listening is not about agreeing or disagreeing with someone. It is an active effort to better understand the other person's life story and experience.
“The most basic of all human needs
is the need to understand and be understood.”
Ralph G. Nichols