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Are you losing your hearing? No, not the ability to hear sounds with your ears, but the ability to be able to truly hear what someone else is saying. Active listening is one of the most important skills you can have in your relationship toolbox, and it can help you to make better connections in your personal life and your professional life. What are some of the benefits of active listening?

Active Listening 101

Active listening is a term used to describe listening where you are actively engaged with the person you are listening to. Instead of merely sitting passively, you are paraphrasing, reflecting back what you are hearing and waiting to offer advice until you get the whole picture. This listening technique helps you to better connect with the person you are listening to and makes them feel truly heard. Beyond those, there are many other benefits of active listening.

When you are practicing active listening, you are:

  • Asking for clarification
  • Giving verbal and nonverbal feedback to show you are listening (mirroring, leaning in, making eye contact)
  • Being patient
  • Remaining nonjudgmental
  • Summarizing what you are hearing

What stops people from engaging in active listening? There are many barriers to doing so successfully, including:

  • Trying to anticipate what will be said next instead of listening
  • Filtering out things that you do not want to hear
  • Correcting factual errors in what the other person says
  • Looking at your phone or watching tv while listening
  • Identifying with what the person is saying instead of empathizing with it

The benefits of active listening are:

  1. Empathizing With Others: When you are practicing active listening, you are working to understand the point of view of the person you are speaking with and practicing empathy. We need more empathy in the world, and practicing it is a good way to improve your skills.
  2. Building Better Connections: Everyone wants to make connections with others and feel understood, and when you make an effort to show that you care and want to understand, you can create stronger bonds with others. Humans are social creatures, and the more positive relationships that you have, the more people you will have to support you.
  3. True Understanding: How many times have you been so focused on formulating your response to what you think someone is going to say that you missed what they were actually saying entirely? One of the biggest benefits of active listening is that you get to the heart of the matter and end conversations with actual understanding of what your friend or colleague is trying to communicate.

Experience the Benefits of Active Listening

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