(Read time: 8 minutes)
The skill to actively listen is quickly becoming one of the most important qualities in so many fields. Compared to passive listening, active listening can bring about meaningful benefits including improved relationships, better understanding, and increased ability to address the right problems.
Active listening is not only an essential skill for your career enhancement, but to develop better relationships as well. If you’re wanting to develop a new skill, try active listening!
What is Active Listening
The basic definition of active listening is listening with all your senses. Yup, that means 100% focus on listening to someone or something – no passing judgements and ignoring any further thoughts. That way you can be fully present to listen. To listen actively is to shift your focus from what’s going on inside your head, to the words and messages conveyed by the other party. When you actively listen, you don’t just passively hear the words, you are fully concentrating on what is being said.
Active listening is important as it helps you build rapport, understand beyond the words, and get a better idea on necessary steps to take. In this hectic world that makes understanding and listening difficult, the importance of active listening can truly create an impression and strengthen interpersonal relationships.
The Benefits of Active Listening
Unlike the two other types of listening, combative and passive, active listening is not about listening to reply, it’s listening to understand. Giving full attention to another can bring about amazing benefits. Here’s a list of perks from actively listening to one another.
Benefits of Active Listening in the Workplace
Whether you’re a subordinate, or a team leader, active listening is a crucial skill to have. When there’s good communication in the workplace, projects can be done with more efficiency and effectively, leading to better productivity. Bonus perk, your team might actually enjoy the process even more too!
Once you have the skill to actively listen, you become valuable as an employee or vendor to a company. This is because you’re more eager to solve problems, understand underlying concerns, remember expectations, and retain positive relationships with people you work with. In the workplace, active listening can help you build connections, establish trust, improve your grasp of topics, and make you a more reliable worker, vendor or consultant to a company!
Deep listening is a key to workplace success whether you’re aiming for a promotion, leading a team for a project, creating a good impression or working with a client!
Benefits of Active Listening in Stress Management
Have you ever felt so stressed, you just want to talk to someone? Letting out our thoughts to someone who listens is one of the best ways to relieve stress. Imagine if you sense that the other party isn’t paying attention or showing interest, that would feel awful (i.e. playing on their phone or watching TV as you’re venting away).
Active listening in stress management can alleviate pent up stress and emotional exhaustion by encouraging the other person to let them out. When we actively listen, we help others by making their burdens feel light, feel heard and that they are supported. Active listening also encourages open conversations, allowing you to manage your stress by opening up as well.
Benefits of Active Listening in Relationships
We manage a lot of relationships in our lives – familial, business, and professional relationships. Deep listening can help strengthen different kinds of relationships by improving communication between the parties involved. When we choose to actively listen, we tune in our empathic ear and we take the time to reflect the message we receive.
Active listening helps relationships by encouraging people to react proactively rather than reactively. Listening deeply requires empathy – the ability to put judgment and reactive feelings to the side to make sure another person is thoroughly understood. When resentful feelings are not present, the communication between two people becomes better.
Benefits of Active Listening in Healing
Part of what I offer in my Reiki, Numerology or Intuitive Energy Healing sessions is Personal Development Coaching. One of the most important lessons I had learned in my training when I was becoming a certified personal development coach was active listening. It’s so absolutely important. Active listening is necessary and I encourage fellow wellness practitioners to try it in their own practice if they haven’t already. Part of the healing experience is being listened to. Practitioners shouldn’t just jump into the healing session – we don’t automatically know what’s best. We need to take the time to ask questions, understand the hidden feelings and emotions that have not come to light and make an effort to see another’s perspective, without judgement, for a truly beneficial healing experience for the client.
Intuitive Energy Healing and Reiki sessions take one’s experiences and life into consideration. Without taking the time to know someone’s feelings, struggles, and issues, concerns may not be addressed properly.
Ways to Express Active Listening
The capacity to actively listen doesn’t come naturally to everyone. However, practice makes it possible for listeners to become more keen in understanding the talking party.
Here are some steps we can take to practice empathy through active listening.
Take three deep breaths and tell yourself that you are committing some time to actively listen to another person with an open heart and mind.
Let go of distractions. Turn your phone to silent mode to avoid getting fazed by notifications.
Approach each conversation with the mindset that you’re going to learn something from the person you’ll be talking to.
Show interest through simple physical actions like nodding your head, commenting “I understand.”
Don’t interrupt someone when they’re still talking. Not only is it rude, you may miss out some important details.
Ask questions. Most of the time, people are too shy than bold. Guide the conversation by asking inspired questions.
Take the time to summarize what they say and confirm if you understand it correctly. Doing this will let people know you’re truly paying attention.
Offer advice only when needed.
To reiterate, to listen actively is to listen with an open mind and an open heart. It’s not always easy, but it’s the best way to understand someone. See a change in your relationships and your communication experiences by learning to listen a little more actively.
Additional note to empathetic people: Active listening can sometimes lead us to feeling overwhelmed by another else’s life struggles, especially if you are an emotionally sensitive person. Sometimes you can leave a conversation feeling heavier, brain fried and burnt out. You’ll need to learn how to find a balance between active listening and empathy. For extreme empaths, it is possible for you to continue energetically carrying on another person’s emotions well after physically engaging in conversation for an extended period of time, leading to something in energy healing called an “emotional cord”. With the help of Intuitive Energy Healing, we can cut that emotional cord so you can find a release from all the sad and negative energy that you have indirectly absorbed. If being a listener is taking its toll, take a break and try one of our Intuitive Energy Healing sessions. Click below to learn more or if you have any questions, drop us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to further personal, and professional development, by listening, actively!