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Active listening isn’t just listening

The first lesson of SINA was active listening and I found it is very similar to some techniques of what I have been taught as a social worker, therefore, I reflect on this technique and benefit from it. I am a good listener and sometimes I could even shut my mouth for a long time while listening to others, so I wondering this is all active listening is about. However, active listening isn’t just listening, it is more than that.

Wikipedia says that active listening requires the listener to fully concentrate, understand, respond and then remember what is being said, partially true, however, active listening is immersing yourself fully into the conversation and somehow forget yourself but not others who are talking at this moment. It allows us to be fully present but this is more and more difficult nowadays with the mobile phone and social media booming around the people.

So what does it look like to be fully present? Have you tried to listen to a fascinating story that makes you go into the scenario of this story and imagine that you are one of the characters and undergoing the story plot? It is a similar feeling when practicing active listening, during the conversation you have the eye-contact and appropriate facial expression, you let your mind go as it is and do not want to interrupt, you put yourself into other’s shoes and think from their perspective. Actually, the whole process is also part of empathy, allowing you to feel what others feeling and respond accordingly.

From the points I mentioned above, I summarized some techniques of active listening. 1. being present and immerse yourself, be fully engaging and enjoying. 2. appropriate facial expression to show that your care and understanding. 3. interruption is not allowed during the process, you have to show them respect and also the interest. 4. do not judge based on what you have heard, it is not wise and also not feasible to judge as everyone has their own unique circumstance that you have not participated in, you don’t have the right to judge as well. 5. do not think what you should respond after the talking. This is a very common mistake that people think in advance about their response during the conversation, then they can get wrong information sometimes when people are concentrating on themselves but not the talkers. 6. appropriate physical position, by saying this I mean a suitable distance between you two, not too far nor too close. 7. do not prejudge someone before you really get to know them, this is about discrimination and stereotype. Set those discriminations aside and start to have an authentic conversation then you may have a fresh perspective toward someone.

I guess you already familiar with the reason why we need active listening in your mind, then keep that in your mind cause there is no authoritative answer for this neither. According to my understanding, active listening is all about building a true and sincere relationship, therefore, achieved emotional communication to some extent. It is not easy to talk to others about the real self nowadays, so we should cherish such a chance if someone is willing to talk and share. To build a quality relationship should start with active listening and it is also a required skill of leadership.

This article was edited by the original author without their consent, and should not be reproduced.

By Social Innovation Insight

We are the bridge of change!

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