Try this for just one day and notice the impact on you and on others. Listen more. Listen to understand. Listen to learn. Listen to empathize. Listen to validate.
Don’t worry. You won’t become invisible, powerless or less impactful. In fact, you will become more visible because you’ll stand out as someone who cares in a world full of people who are busy pushing their agenda, selling their ideas, jockeying for position.
You may find these three techniques helpful to listen actively for far more effective communication.
Mirror the speaker’s message. In other words, accurately restate the content and emotional tone of the speaker’s message by paraphrasing what you heard. This is a good way to demonstrate that you understand what was said. And, it allows the speaker to clarify important points, you may have missed or misunderstood.
Empathize with the speaker’s feelings or emotional state. Let the speaker know that you hear how they are feeling about the topic of discussion. Name the emotion you believe the speaker is experiencing. Use phrases like you sound happy or sad, scared, angry, concerned, etc. Or, I image you’re feeling frustrated, joyful, etc.
Validate the speaker’s point of view. Confirm that you understand the situation through her eyes and can appreciate why he or she feels the way they do, even if you don’t agree. To practice validation, use phrases such as… “I can see why you say that…” Or, “Given what you’ve said, I understand why you conclude…”
Talk less and listen more. Then, notice how many people – at home and at work – will compliment you for being such a great listener, for caring or for affording them the opportunity to talk through something that was concerning them.
Emotionally intelligent people engage in active listening. To power up your effectiveness as a communicator and your credibility as someone who genuinely cares, try it and watch your personal and/or executive presence emerge.