Third Ear–Active listening Techniques for Connecting with Others

” Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals”. Carl Rogers

Active listening is a critical skill for leaders and coaches. As a an effective listener you show interest and are demonstrating the “golden rule” of listening: MMFI (Make Me Feel Important).  You will encourage people to more fully develop their answers and this will provide you invaluable information, understanding and insight.  Setting your concerns and self-interest aside and “being there” in the “here and now” with the other person is rare and powerful.  If you are truly listening you not only hear the words, but also the emotions, fears and issues of the other person.  This provides a unique bond of empathy and an opportunity to learn and connect with others. 

CPR Technique for better understanding and personal connections 

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Dr.Stephen Covey

Clarifying

Ask questions to check your understanding of the meaning of the person’s words or ask person to clarify by telling you more… use open-ended questions.

  • Please tell me more about that issue….
  • “When you say __________, what exactly do you mean?”

Paraphrasing

In your own words repeat or restate what you think the other person said.

  • “Let me see if I understand you correctly…”
  •  It seems to me, if I understand you correctly,  that you want to find a new job. Have got it right?

Reflection

Use reflection to display empathy and to check your perception of the person’s emotions.  There are two components of reflection:

  • Tentative statement (“It appears that you are overwhelmed with forms”)
  • Attempt to identify the feeling (“You’re frustrated with…”) Identify the feeling being expressed, if you are wrong the person will set you straight.

Additional Active Listen Tools   

Focused Attention

Tune out distractions. Concentrate.  Look the person in the eye and turn toward them to clearly communicate your interest in what they are saying. Do not multitask when talking with others. Resist need to respond too quickly or interupt the other person.

Silence

Give the person time to collect their thoughts and continue.  Use non-verbal cues to demonstrate your receptivity.

See more at TED talk on Importance of Listening 

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