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Managing Energy

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Managing Energy

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Active listening is a learnable skill

Active listening is a learnable skill

Research shows that active listening — putting your full focus on your conversational partner to truly understand their message — can help us anticipate problems, resolve conflicts, expand our knowledge and build trust. 

And like any skill, active listening can be practiced and cultivated.


411 reads

Put away your phone (and other distractions)

  • If you really want to be an active, empathic listener, you need to put away your devices and be fully present.
  • When we multitask, our attention is divided between multiple streams of information — and we’re not great at taking it all in. 
  • Our distractions aren’t always external. When you find yourself zoning out or daydreaming during a conversation, just recognize that it’s happening and bring yourself back to what’s going on right in front of you. 


303 reads

Reflect back on what you’ve heard

The best listeners aren’t just statues absorbing information — they also know what to say and when to say it.  

  • Posing clarifying or open-ended questions says to the other person you’re paying attention and encourages them to elaborate. It can also help them gain new insights and explore avenues they haven’t previously thought of. 
  • Summarize. Periodically paraphrasing the other person’s message can help make them feel seen and heard and build trust.
  • Listen without judgment. This means being accepting of their beliefs, values, and experiences, even when they’re different from your own. 


254 reads

Let nonverbal cues speak for you, too

Nonverbal communication — the ways we express thoughts or messages without speech, like our facial expressions, body movement, posture, eye contact or touch — can be just as powerful as what we say out loud.

That’s because our facial expressions reflect our internal states — and this is a vital social skill that we begin developing from an early age.


253 reads

Nonverbal communication: the basics

  • Make eye contact. Looking someone in the eye while they’re speaking indicates that you’re interested and invites them to continue sharing. Experts recommend using the 50/70 rule: Try to maintain eye contact 50 percent of the time when speaking, and 70 percent of the time when listening.
  • Have an open posture. Active listeners often lean slightly towards the other person or tilt their head. On the other hand, if you turn away from them or look away while they’re speaking, you’ll likely appear disengaged. 
  • Mirror facial expressions. Reflecting the other person’s emotions can show you empathize.


245 reads



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