Listening seems like a simple task on the surface level - we do it every day after all. Every conversation, every food order, every time we watch TV, and most of our day it seems like we are listening to something. But when we are engaged in conversation with those we care about (or during important moments) we need to turn our listening up to another level. While that may sound like a silly statement, there is a big difference between passive and active listening. About Town is here to help you become a better listener.
It’s important to let the person you’re talking to know that you are invested in the conversation, but you don’t want to do so by interrupting. You also don’t want to accidentally look bored! Nonverbal cues are a great way to show we are listening intently. Eye contact, head nods, and the faces we make can reveal our interest.
Another key aspect of nonverbal communication is paying attention to how the person you’re talking to is expressing themselves during the conversation. Tone changes, a difference in body positioning, and facial expressions all hold the potential to tell more about a story.
Asking questions often comes naturally during a conversation, but it’s important to place a focus on contributing to the conversation with your spoken inquiries. Asking questions that clarify the intention of the message or provide further details in a story is important and lets the speaker know that you care about the message they are conveying.
Don’t Focus On Your Response
Everyone wants to say the perfect words after being confided in, but unless you are asked specifically to give advice it is best to focus on listening and letting the speaker do most of the talking. When asked for advice or a perspective, share it but focusing on the right sentences to speak can distract you from being the best listener you can be.
Keep Emotions In Check
Being an active listener often leads to stressful conversations that can be easy to get the emotions riled up, but we have to remember the mission is to provide the best possible experience for the person speaking. Breathing exercises and meditation help regulate our heart rate and stress levels, and let us focus on listening in a productive manner. Knowing some of these techniques can not only help you but also your friend.
Thank you for listening!
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