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10 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Listening (and Networking) Skills

Active Listening

Means to fully concentrate on what is being said rather than passively absorbing it

It's not just remembering the content of what was said, but using empathy and seeking to understand the complete message, including the emotional tones conveyed. It builds rapport, understanding and trust.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

10 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Listening (and Networking) Skills

10 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Listening (and Networking) Skills

https://www.inc.com/matthew-jones/10-simple-steps-to-highly-effective-listening.html

inc.com

3

Key Ideas

How To Be An Active Listener

  1. Ignore internal and external distractions (thoughts and sounds).
  2. Listen to the content of their speech and their specific wording
  3. Listen to the context of their speech. Keep in mind the circumstances and themes and how they relate what’s being said.
  4. Listen to the tone of their voice. It conveys the speaker’s feelings.
  5. Listen for the emotions the speaker is likely experiencing so they will feel understood.
  6. Pay attention to their body language and make appropriate eye contact.
  7. Provide small verbal encouragements and don't fight silences.
  8. Ask open-ended questions to encourage elaboration and further your understanding of the big picture.
  9. If you need them to slow down or want specific info, ask close-ended questions.
  10. Offer affirmations that the person has made valuable and important choices.

Selective Listening

Means to focus on a few key words and ignore the rest of someone's communication. 

It often manifests as one gets distracted by external stimuli like random sounds or movements, and internal stimuli such as one's own thoughts and feelings.

Active Listening

Means to fully concentrate on what is being said rather than passively absorbing it

It's not just remembering the content of what was said, but using empathy and seeking to understand the complete message, including the emotional tones conveyed. It builds rapport, understanding and trust.

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"It's important to make the individual you are speaking with feel heard and understood. If you're not engaged in t..."

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Technology And Conversations

Your environment affects your personal relationships. Technologies like social media are making conversations harder and less engaging. But getting rid of it isn't necessarily the cure-all for most of our social interactions.

 If you have you've been feeling disconnected you can develop your conversational skills if you persist.

Become An Active Listener

Be engaged and listen to what they are saying. Show interest, ask questions and clarifications. This shows others that you care about what they are saying, and about them in the bigger picture.

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Effective communication

... is imperative for every successful business. Poor communication inevitably causes misunderstandings, confusion and conflicts that hinder productivity and professi...

Effective Communication is vital in business
  • It helps to create effective brand messaging.  It determines how your brand is perceived and also builds trust with customers.
  • Customer service relies on good communication. "60% of consumers have stopped doing business with a brand due to a poor customer service experience."  Microsoft’s 2016 Global State of Customer Service Report.
  • It enables positive team relationships.  Effective communication helps to unite teams and create a safe environment to express themselves.
  • It helps to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts. It can help to defuse a potentially explosive dispute while bad communication can set it off.

Worst Communication Mistakes
  1. Using a One-Size-Fits-All Communication Approach. Tailor the communication style to the intended audience.
  2. Speaking More and Listening Less. Listen to what is said, how it is said, and to what is not said.
  3. Assuming Instead of Asking More Questions.
  4. Using Negative Tone. Choose words carefully to eliminate negative reactions.
  5. Avoiding Difficult Conversations.

  6. Reacting, Not Responding.

  7. Not Keeping an Open Mind. Accept and respect differences, listen without judgment and consider all sides of an issue.

Make small talk

You communicate a genuine interest when you inquire or listen to the small details that make up your partner’s day. It’s those insignificant moments that make up the reality of our lives.

Shared experiences
We feel closer to others when we can talk about the experiences we have in common. 

Words are not necessary for shared feelings to improve a relationship. Just doing something at the same time—riding bikes, watching a movie, or eating dessert, intensifies both pleasant and unpleasant experiences.

Listen carefully
Knowing that you are being heard is one of the experiences most likely to cement a feeling of connection to another. 

Use a technique called “active listening” - a form of listening in which you acknowledge that you understand what is being said. 

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The value of solid writing skills
  • Being a good writer helps you stand out from the crowd.
  • Repeated writing mistakes affect your reputation and credibility in the future.
  • Your writing is ...
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Kurt Vonnegut

"Why should you examine your writing style with the idea of improving it? Do so as a mark of respect for your readers, whatever you’re writing.

The “5 Ws + H” method

... for establishing what and how you will write:

  • Who: Who is my audience?
  • What: What do they need to know?
  • When: When does this apply, when did this happen, or when do they need to know it by?
  • Where: Where is this happening?
  • Why: Why do they need this information?
  • How: How should they use this information?

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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;
Listen

To mindfully listen means to wait patiently for the other person to finish before we speak. Also, it means keeping our mind focused on the speaker, instead of wandering ...

Practise non-judgment

To mindfully converse and avoid conflicts, we need to try our best to refrain from judging the other person’s opinion, story or perspective. We should come to terms with the fact that there is no wrong or right — only different perceptions.

Show understanding

Show others that you understand them. For example, say “I understand” or “I see what you mean.” It gives them a sense of comfort that their words and feelings are relatable.

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Music and memory

Music helps with making memories from long ago feel relevant again. When you hear a song that had specific meaning to you in the past, the memory of that moment will come back with unbelievable ...

Music improves your focus

This happens because music stimulates the entire brain and not just segments of it. Using this knowledge can help you in various ways.

  • Meditation. Some people use music to help them clear their minds.
  • Listening to music while studying or working can help you remember more of the information.
  • During exercise. It takes the mind’s focus off of fatigue.
  • Focus on sleep. Music calms the mind and causes you to focus on your rest.

Music increases your creativity

Ambient music at 70 decibels will increase specific creative tasks by activating the parts of the brain that think in abstract ways.

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Improve Any Relationship
  • Acknowledge the opinions, feelings and needs of others
  • Be more open to suggestions and compromises
  • Give 100% of your attention to the job
  • Spend ...
Mindful listening

This constant, low-grade sense of urgency can impede genuine communication. 
Mindful listening - 
focused attention to what another person is saying, without judging or ...

Hear between the words

When you’re in conversation, set your mind to being present, receptive, and ready to listen with compassion. 

Bring yourself into the moment with a few deep breaths and ask yourself: What is this person communicating beyond the words they use? 

Use nonverbal cues
When the other person is speaking, just listen. Stay mentally active and alert. Use nonverbal signals like nodding or smiling to let the person know you’re tuned in.

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Cut all the contact

Keep your distance and don’t text, email, meet in person or call.

Cutting the ties for good when it’s over puts you on a faster path to healing.

  • Set up an “Emergency ...
Let Your Emotions Out

Cry, sob your eyes out, scream and yell. As long as it doesn’t hurt yourself or anybody else, find ways to release and let go of the pain you may be feeling. 

Listen to sad songs. Listening to sad songs can regulate negative emotion and mood as well as consolation. 
Accept the fact that it’s over

Coping with the end of a relationship is a little bit like a 12 step program. You will reach acceptance far sooner by staying away from that person.

Don’t over-analyze what could have been different. Your mission now is to get to the place where you aren’t battling with yourself about the way things are. Do this with compassion and don’t beat yourself up.

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