What if I told you there is a way you can improve your relationships, feel heard AND have your needs/desires met? While you might be thinking “this sounds too good to be true,” I am here to tell you otherwise.
By implementing active listening in your conversations with your partner, friends, family and even co-workers, you can achieve a new level of happiness in your relationships.
So, let’s break this down:
First things first, what exactly is active listening? As defined by VeryWell Mind, “active listening refers to a pattern of listening that keeps you engaged with your conversation partner in a positive way. It is the process of listening attentively while someone else speaks, paraphrasing and reflecting back what is said, and withholding judgment and advice.”
Focusing on what the other person is saying not only indicates to them you are engaged, but also allows you to be present. To do this, eliminate distractions when you are having a conversation. (I.e., go into a quieter space, put away your phone, etc.)
Acknowledging is also a key part of active listening. An easy way to acknowledge someone is just simply to make eye contact and have open body language. We all know how it feels to talk with someone who’s arms might be crossed, and they are looking away… And those conversations usually aren’t received particularly well. When we have open body language, it helps bring down another person’s walls and can help them open up even more!
Okay, so you have focused in and made an effort to acknowledge. Now comes a crucial, but often overlooked step! Paraphrasing what has been said to you back is 100% necessary in active listening. Repeating what you understood in your own words allows room for additional clarity that could be needed. A great way to practice this is to start by saying “What I think I am hearing is…”
If you can withhold your judgment or try to see it from their perspective before putting your own bias on the subject, you will find the conversation tends to flow much easier. Again, this comes back to keeping walls down. When someone feels judged or backed into a corner, all communication comes to a stop. Typically, the process will have to start from scratch in order to get past this roadblock.
Finally, take turns speaking. Let the other person finish their thought before responding. Taking turns allows each person a chance to feel heard. While all of this might seem like a no-brainer, often these steps are skipped right over. Communication break-down is far too common, but by practicing these skills you can open doors never thought possible in your relationships! To take a deeper dive into active listening, enroll in my communication course starting on October 19th! Follow the link to learn more: https://mariesgold.com/classes/