Good listening is empathic listening; defined as a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding and trust. It allows us to receive and accurately interpret the speaker’s message, hence able to provide an appropriate response. This is an important skill to master for both personal and professional interactions. When an individual feels understood, an emotional burden is lifted, stress and defensiveness will reduce. Hence as an empathic listener, you empower the speaker to an increased self-esteem and clarity.
Empathic listening comprises two crucial aspects – Active and Reflective Listening.
Active listening is mindful hearing and genuine effort to comprehend what’s spoken by the other. Attentiveness is the key factor. Reflective listening focuses on reflecting the speaker’s words and feelings by giving feedback through a “paraphrased rendition”; the interpretation confirms and assures that the speaker is heard and understood.
5 TIPS TO INCREASE YOUR LISTENING ABILITIES:
- Be Fully In The Moment – Paying attention not just to the words but tone, facial expressions and body language for cues on how they are really feeling. Good eye contact is necessary to convey engagement.
- Put Yourself In Their Shoes – Imagine yourself in their situation. Empathy is the ability to project oneself into the personality of another person in order to better understand his/ her emotions.
- Do Not Interrupt – Don’t dominate the conversation or impose your ideas on the person. Encourage them to express themselves more instead.
- Paraphrase Main Points & Restate them – Echoing what the speaker said allows needed clarification and also assures the speaker that he/she is understood and heard correctly.
- Adopt An Attitude of Unconditional Regard – Unconditional positive regard is accepting the speaker totally for who he or she is without evaluating or censoring; and disapproving of particular feelings, actions or characteristics. It liberates the speaker to express him or herself freely.
The ability to listen is one of the most crucial skills of a counsellor. When you are able to truly listen, you learn to empathise, and you learn to sympathise with people around you. It changes the way you perceive the world and informs the way you are able to help.
Join us at College of Allied Educators to learn more about the limits of your abilities and discover how you can help others overcome their doubts, fears, disagreements, and challenges in order to build a happier, more meaningful life.
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