• Dawn Abbey

Hear more by listening actively

Active listening is not an easy thing to do which is why so many of us prefer to talk instead, but can you remember the last time someone listened to you really intently? Was it your partner at home or your boss or a close friend perhaps? Can you remember how you felt at the time and what you were talking about?

You see, when someone is listening to us intently, it has such an impact on us and we tend to open up even more and reveal a little more about ourselves, our situation, our thoughts and beliefs. It strengthens the relationship and connects us more to that person for a very long time.

Sounds quite simple to do, right? Keeping quiet while someone speaks is a piece of cake but actively listening while someone speaks is a lot, lot harder.

Why is that? Well, it means listening without judgement; without hearing noise around you; being genuinely interested in what the other person has to say; observing the body language and at the same time checking it is congruent with the words. It means listening without thinking about what YOU are going to say next and without believing that you know what the other person is about to say.

You could say it is like listening with all of the senses but above all, it means not speaking until the other person has finished or invites a response from you. But do remember to give some visual cues that you are listening such as a nod of the head, leaning forward if sitting, using short phrases like “ aha or okay” otherwise it may appear that you have switched off altogether.

With practice it can be done though so all is not lost. Try practicing on friends and family and see what difference it makes. Remember that they will not know what you are doing so whilst it may seem that you are quiet for a long time, they will be blissfully unaware and probably making the most of being able to talk to you a lot more.

Once you have practiced a bit, take it to your place of business with colleagues, customers, teams and friends at work. The information you uncover will be so much greater and it will inevitably lead to more success and a lot of respect. If you are a coach as well, I need say no more and if you are in Sales, well this is a secret weapon to help close the sale.

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