We talk a great deal about the importance od healthy communication.
But we often forget that active listening is an equally important part of it all.
Here are some tips to help you become a better listener:
Accept and validate feelings
Accepting that someone is feeling angry, sad, frustrated, confused or happy is a great way to create a safe space for the relationship to grow. This safe space can allow the other person to feel seen, heard, understood, and appreciated and is the foundation for real emotional connection. This validation can come in the form of non-judgement, of nodding, smiling and simply being there when the other person is sharing something important.
Mirror people's communication style
Adapting your vocabulary, gestures, body posture, tone or intonation to that of your ocnversation partner will help you build rapport and make the person in front of you feel more at ease while sharing and expressing themselves.
This can mean using more visual words if your partner does the same. It can mean speaking faster or slowlier to match the other person's speech speed.
- Ask open-ended questions
"How do you view this event?"
"How did you feel?"
"What was important to you in that context?"
"How would you describe it?"
"Where do you stand on that?"
These types of questions create a safe space for the other person to feel like their views, feelings, and experiences matter to you and are being heard.
Sometimes, paraphrasing what the other person said can help us make sure we understood their message clearly and it also makes them see we paid attention.
- Be kind
What else would you add to this list?
I love these suggestions on how to improve my listening skills. I have never thought about mirroring someone else's communication style.