Active listening skills and how to use them

Active Listening

Active listening skills and how to use them

Category : Communications

What is Active Listening?

Active listening is a more attentive listening style. It is mindfully hearing what the talker is saying. Then attempting to comprehend what the talker is saying.

So what does active listening involve? You want to acknowledge, clarify and confirming, understanding and removing barriers that affect your comprehension.

How to improve your active listening

  1. Be attentive.
    Face the person speaking to you. Focus on them, their body language and what they are saying. Keep eye contact with the speaker so your attention is on them.
  2. Avoid distractions.
    Put your phone away, I know this should go without saying but it happens every day in our world. We are glued to our phones. If you are speaking with someone in your office, turn off your monitor if you can’t keep your focus. Remove distractions that prevent you from listening and hearing what the talker is saying.
  3. Don’t interrupt or allow your mind to wonder.
    Do not interrupt the person communicating with you. Allow them to finish their thoughts and communicate them thoroughly. Do not allow your mind to begin thinking about how you will respond before they have finished. This is key. I believe most humans naturally do this. This takes some mental training.
  4. Acknowledge.
    Give the talker cues that you are listening, agreeing or giving a motion (nod or smiling) that shows you are listening and understanding what they are saying.
  5. Clarify.
    If you do not understand, ask questions. Repeat back to the person, what you heard and how you are understanding what they are saying for clarification.
  6. Last but not least, relax.
    Some of these tips may take some time, you don’t want to be thinking about these key tips while trying to listen, so relax your body and mind. However, be mindful of your posture. Folding your arms makes you unapproachable and sends signals of disagreement. Remain relaxed and allow the conversation to naturally flow.

Difference between hearing and listening

Hearing is collecting the data being delivered. Simply stated, hearing is receiving the words being delivered. Listening is an active response. This is when you are paying attention to what is said.

Hearing and listening go hand in hand. However, comprehension is important when talking about active listening. It is important to understand what the person is conveying to you.

How does this help improve your business communications?

Regardless of your position in an organization, active listening skills are a positive quality. Whether you are an entry-level employee or an executive, active listening is a great business tool. It can improve your problem-solving skills, help you manage a team easier, avoid conflict, and can be used to persuade others.

Check out a previous post about Setting Goals and Obtaining Success.

About Author


April has been in the IT field for over 19 years. Her background is in Web Programming, Project Management, and Training. She is part of the Configuration team at Sybatech and helps with marketing strategies.


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