Intentions matter. There’s nothing more off-putting than communicating something important only to find out that the it wasn’t absorbed—or being the person who didn’t absorb it. Active listening is making a conscious effort to listen and fully understand the message being communicated.
Listening is an important skill that can affect you personally and professionally. We listen to learn, to receive information, to acquire direction, and for entertainment and happiness. However, Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience says we only remember 25% to 50% of what we hear.
Use the practices below to revitalize your intent to listen and engage with active listening.
Practice one: Mentally repeat what is being said to you in order to reinforce the message and remain focused on the speaker and the message.
Practice two: Acknowledge the speaker and the message. This can be as simple as using body language like nodding your head. Try to respond to the speaker to let them know you are hearing the message. Acknowledging the message also helps you as the listener retain the information.
Practice three: Don’t interrupt. Allow the speaker to finish relaying their message completely before interjecting questions or comments they might address.
Practice four: Have an appropriate response. Active listening fosters respect and understanding. You can disagree with a speaker and remain respectful without attacking or demeaning the speaker for their thoughts or opinions.
Content by Lockton Dunning Benefits with info from https://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/ActiveListening.htm