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How to listen — really listen — to someone you don’t agree with

https://ideas.ted.com/how-to-listen-really-listen-to-someone-you-dont-agree-with/

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How to listen — really listen — to someone you don’t agree with
Psychologist Tania Israel shares the 3 basic skills that go into active listening.

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The essential skill of listening

The essential skill of listening

Listening is essential if you want to have a meaningful exchange with another person.

When you listen in a way that the other person feels heard, they are more likely to relax, open up and share information with you.

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Nonverbal attending

Nonverbal attending means giving someone your full attention without speaking.

  • Keep your body open to the other person. Try to be relaxed, and lean forward a bit if you're sitting.
  • Maintain eye contact without looking like you are staring.
  • Use simple gestures such as head nods or occasionally say "Mm-hmmm" to communicate encouragement.
  • See how long you can listen without interrupting.

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How to signal you are truly listening to someone

Reflecting means repeating or rephrasing key content or meaning from the other person.

Instead of saying, "I hear you," summarise and paraphrase the content confirming that you heard them and that you accurately understood them. If you didn't quite understand what they were saying, it allows them to correct you.

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Insert questions into a conversation at the right time

As you listen, questions will come up in your head. But asking questions can interrupt the other person's thinking and derail a conversation.

  • Always attend and reflect before you ask a question.
  • When you do ask a question to encourage dialogue, use open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no. Keep the questions simple without trying to impress them with your exceptional question.
  • Stay neutral in tone and content. A loud tone can come across as judgment.

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The ability to be a good listener

The ability to be a good listener

The idea of being a good listener is almost a cliche. Yet, most of us are terrible at it.

Becoming a good listener is not that difficult if you know where to start and are ...

Focus on the person, not the problem

Our ability to solve problems is helpful in life, but it is the wrong thing to do in situations when people simply want to be heard, understood, and feel connected.

When someone is scared, angry, depressed, or just upset, they don't want to feel like something is wrong with them. When you give unsolicited advice to someone who is struggling, you make them feel like a problem. Give advice when someone asks for it, otherwise, hold off on your wisdom and instead focus on being present.

Unsing open-ended questions

Being a good listener is not about getting the facts about what made them upset. It is to be supportive, offer encouragement, and empathize.
Ask open-ended questions to communicate that you're interested in them. Avoid questions beginning with 'Why' and use 'What' or 'How' instead. Generic open-ended questions that work well are:

  • What was that like for you?
  • Can you tell me more about that?
  • How did you feel about that?
  • What was going through your mind?

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Active listening

Is a technique for developing our ability to listen, to make a conscious effort to understand what people are really saying.

As a communication technique, it is used in many prof...

Core components of Active Listening

  • Comprehending: To communicate, we must first understand what the other person (or people) are actually saying.
  • Retaining: To respond in an appropriate manner, we must understand and retain what the other person has said.
  • Responding: An active response should show that we understand what the other person has said, have paid attention to their words and also read their non-verbal cues.

Improving Active Listening skills

  • Educate yourself on common cognitive biases and shortcuts;
  • Avoid trying to respond immediately. Allow the other person time to finish speaking, then provide a considered response;
  • Minimize conversational narcissism by keeping track of your use of pronouns(I, me);
  • Seek to develop a clear picture of the other person’s logic;

Listening requires mental work

We mistake listening as easy because it looks passive and instinctive, but in reality it’s hard work. Really listening (and not just appearing to listen) re...

Mistakes we make in conversations

Our general tendency is to:
  • Evaluate: We judge what someone is saying and agree or disagree.
  • Probe: We ask questions from our own frame of reference.
  • Advise: We give counsel, advice, and solutions to problems.
  • Interpret: We analyze others' motives and behaviors based on our own experiences.

What makes a great listener

  • Asking great questions;
  • Playing attention to the nonverbal communication;
  • Forgoing taking detailed notes to pay better attention;
  • Listening with the intent to understand, not the intent to respond;
  • Making people feel heard;
  • Following up on what matters.