Have you ever been a part of a conversation with someone and found yourself drifting off into your own thoughts, only to be grounded back to reality when someone asks “what do you think?” You are not alone.
Modern, busy lives mean that we often find ourselves struggling to focus and really listen to what is being said to us. Our world is becoming louder and louder with more things to sift through every day.
It’s time to retune your ears and practice conscious listening. We’ve all heard of active listening, but do you know what it really means?
Active listening is the conscious effort you make to not only listen to the words being said but to take in the complete message that is being communicated to you.
Paying attention to what is being said to you
Don’t just have an ear open, have your whole body open to what is being said. Look at the person speaking and take in what they are saying. As tempting as it might be, don’t prepare a response until someone has finished speaking, and instead of going for a fast rebuttal, try to respond to the whole message. Look at their body language and understand what they’re communicating to you.
Show the speaker you are listening
This means more than just nodding to feign your interest. This is about using your body and gestures to create an unspoken dialogue with the speaker so they know you’re receiving their message without interrupting them. Keep your posture open and inviting.
A great way to see if you have understood what is being said is to paraphrase the message back to them. Try reflecting after they’ve finished speaking by saying back to them, “it sounds like you are saying…” Remember that when in doubt, ask questions – don’t leave things unspoken if you need clarification. If you did zone out, it’s okay to ask for the message to be repeated.
These are just some basic tips for practicing active listening. Reach out to me today and find out how meditation can help calm your day and declutter the mind or how psychotherapy might reveal why you struggle to focus in and listen.