Active Listening: Everyone wants to realize and know that others are listening to them. However, everyone does not know how to listen properly or be an active listener. It is an important lesson that we all must learn. This quality makes you look mature, and organized, and helps you in your professional and personal relations. In this article, we are going to read about the top 7 key factors of active listening.

Maintain An Eye Contact

If you are having a face-to-face conversation, the most important part is to maintain eye contact. This act alone makes you look attentive. A lot of eye contact can also be intimidating especially if the other person is a bit anxious. Try to break eye contact after every few seconds but don’t look somewhere else for a prolonged time. This will make the other person feel that you have no interest in listening to what they have to say.

Ask Deeper Questions

If it’s your friend, boss, or professor, after having a conversation or discussion, try to ask relevant questions. This will let them know that you have been listening carefully. If you have a question that has not been thought of, make sure to bring that up. This will help the conversation to flow and it can be helpful if you were discussing some project. Make sure to clarify if you have any doubts, however, do not try to sound extra smart, remember you don’t look stupid when you ask a question. It just shows that you are curious and it is good unless you are being intrusive. Just start the conversation with “I don’t think I understood that part…” If your friend is sharing something personal, you can always respond with “How did that make you feel?” They will know that you care about their feelings.

7 key factors of active listening
7 key factors of active listening

Listen to Non-Verbal Cues

The tone of voice, gestures, and facial expressions can let you know what the other person is trying to express. Try to pay attention to the body language and tone of voice while they are talking. Common things such as smiling, arms crossed, rubbing eyes, trying to avoid eye contact, facing downwards, and more. Even if you are having a phone call conversation, still you can understand their mood as the tone will upbeat or subdued. This will help you to understand what kind of response will be helpful for the other person at the moment.

Avoid Interruptions

Suppose you are talking about an idea you have in mind and you are discussing it excitedly, and someone interrupts. Yes, it is disturbing. Moreover, when you interrupt someone, it leaves an impression of you feeling more superior and know-it-all in the room. It also happens when you don’t let the other person complete their sentence rather you end it. If someone is taking a few seconds while sharing a topic, that is not your cue to jump in. If you think you have interrupted someone perhaps unintentionally, try to steer back by saying, “so you were talking about…”

Don’t Impose Your Opinions

One of the qualities that you must have as it helps you build relationships, a career, and a good impact on people is being a good listener. No matter what relation it is, your partner, friends, or manager. Everybody is fond of a good listener. Before sharing your opinion, listen to them carefully. Whatever you are going to say, make sure it sounds like a suggestion and not a compulsion. Avoid words such as “should” and “must”, especially if they are seeking advice from you. Leave space for them to decide what they want to do, and give your input as an idea.

7 key factors of active listening
7 key factors of active listening

Train Your Mind And Stay Focused

People who experience anxiety tend to procrastinate often. In general, concentrating on a certain thing, especially something you are perhaps not interested in for the moment is hard to fathom. Try to repeat their words in your head as they say them. It will help you to stay focused and understand what they are trying to say. Do not look at your phone; especially if you have issues with concentrating on things. Moreover, using a phone while talking to someone is considered bad behavior.

Paraphrase And Summarise

If you reflect and repeat the things you have heard, it increases the understanding and communication between you and others. They would realize that you have heard everything carefully and would like to talk and discuss things with you. It also helps the other person to correct you in case you have misheard anything. Try to begin this with “sounds like you are saying…” or  “so, you mean…”

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