As part of my uni degree, I study a module in language interpretation. Often confused with translation, interpreting is the translation of oral material – basically, speeches and conversations.
One of the skills we have to work on is active listening. We have to quiet our internal dialogue and pay attention to what being said, how it’s being said and the message the speaker is trying to convey.
In our everyday conversations, we know when we’re being listening to and when we’re not.
We quickly recognise good listeners because they make us feel respected, have empathy and are not quick to offer unsolicited advice.
I’ve often thought I was a good listener. But I’ve been paying attention to the way I listen recently. I’ve noticed that I’ve been waiting to give my opinion and not actually listened to what’s being said. Often, I’ve missed the unspoken messages that are conveyed through body language or tone because I’ve only been interested in giving my opinion.
When I’ve actively listened in conversation, I feel the conversation is much better and can go to deeper levels. Both people feel valued and are actively trying to be empathetic and learn, rather than just giving their two penneth.
Can you practise deep, active listening in your conversations today? What will you learn about the person?