As the world comes closer through the internet in this modern day and age, the human being has been feeling more and more alone by the minute. We’ve all felt misunderstood, underappreciated or ignored at times. With everyone stuck to their phone screens, a meaningful conversation seems like a rarity and the act of listening to is a lost art.
The world has, in recent years, underestimated the power of active listening and making someone feel heard and understood.
Here’s how you can have better bonds with your friends and family and become a better listener:
• Attention to the speaker: Being attentive is crucial to active listening; always show your support by keeping your posture friendly and approachable, looking towards your friend, and keeping calm. Listening to what they have to say with an open mind and not being overly judgmental. Keep affirming that you’re interested in slow nods or simple words of encouragement. Interrupting someone should be avoided; always try to stay silent. While the few minutes of venting or letting someone speak about their problems might not mean much to you, they could be very healing to someone else’s mental health and make them feel much better.
• Reflect on what you learn: According to a recent study, people feel heard and connected when their words get reflected or repeated back to them. For someone telling their opinion, not just listening but repeating a few of their words back to them is the way forward. Not only does this bring validation, but it also clears any doubts in the listener’s mind. It might feel awkward to repeat someone‘s words. Do it by changing the sentence a little, by focusing on the meaning in those words and understanding the basic idea in their heart.
• Asking questions: To make a better conversation for both sides involved, asking questions proves the listener’s interest while helping them communicate their thoughts more freely. Questions should be about the conversation but not restricting. They should flow with the conversation. Make the questions simple and, try to avoid yes or no type questions. They should be open-ended and thought-provoking. Another fact to keep in mind is not to overdo questions. Asking too many questions might shift the focus from the speaker and make the conversation more about the listener. It might interrupt the listener’s thoughts and shut them from talking further. Questions should be non-judgmental so that the speaker can put forth their views without any inhibitions.
Keeping a neutral tone and approachable nature is invaluable to society. There aren’t many people who in today‘s age would rather listen than talk. However, it isn’t through talking that we’ll learn anything that we didn’t already know. It is only through listening to someone else. Anyone we meet knows something that we don’t. Learning is a lifelong process, and listening is crucial to that.