EDU Hacks: 10 Ways To Improve Your Active Listening Skills

Listening is one of the most critical skills that everyone needs to practice. Listening attentively to others will significantly affect your work efficiency and current relationships. However, more than just listening is required. It would be best if you listened actively. This EDU Blog will provide several ways to enhance your active listening skills.

What is active listening?

As its name suggests, active listening means you listen actively. In other words, you focus entirely on what the other person is communicating instead of just “listening” passively, not concentrating on their message.

Active listening is listening with all the senses involved. Besides giving full attention to the speaker, an “active listener” also shows that they are listening. Here are ten ways to improve your active listening skills and become a better listener.

10 Ways To Improve Your Active Listening Skills

1. Show interest and curiosity

You can do this by nodding, smiling, making eye contact, and asking open-ended questions that invite them to elaborate or clarify their points. For example, you can say, “That’s interesting. Can you tell me more about that?” or “How did you feel when that happened?”

2. Use positive body language

Your body language can also convey your level of attention and engagement in a conversation. To show that you are listening actively, you should adopt a relaxed and open posture, lean slightly forward, avoid crossing your arms or legs, and maintain a comfortable distance from the speaker. You should also avoid fidgeting, looking at your phone, or checking the time, as these behaviors can signal boredom or impatience.

3. Paraphrase and summarize

Another way to demonstrate your active listening skills is to paraphrase and summarize what the speaker has said in your own words. This shows that you have understood their main points and helps to clarify any misunderstandings or confusion. You can use phrases like “So what you’re saying is…” or “Let me see if I got this right…” to introduce your paraphrase or summary. You can also ask the speaker to confirm or correct your interpretation if you need clarification.

4. Provide feedback and empathy

Active listening also involves providing feedback and empathy to the speaker. Feedback is acknowledging their feelings, opinions, and experiences and respecting and valuing them. Empathy is putting yourself in their shoes and understanding their perspective and emotions.

You can provide feedback and empathy by using statements like “I appreciate your honesty,” “I can see why you feel that way,” or “That must have been hard for you.”

5. Avoid interrupting or changing the subject

One of the most common barriers to active listening is interrupting or changing the subject when someone else is talking. This can make the speaker feel frustrated, ignored, or disrespected and disrupt the flow of the conversation.

To avoid interrupting or changing the subject, you should wait for the speaker to finish their thoughts before responding or asking a question. You should also avoid jumping to conclusions, making assumptions, or giving unsolicited advice.

6. Reflect on your own biases and assumptions

Another obstacle to active listening has biases and assumptions that interfere with your ability to listen objectively and openly. Biases and assumptions are preconceived notions or judgments about a person, a topic, or a situation, based on your background, beliefs, or experiences.

They can prevent you from hearing what the speaker is saying and distort your understanding of their message. To overcome your biases and assumptions, you should reflect on them before entering a conversation and try to suspend them while listening.

7. Ask for feedback on your listening skills

An excellent way to improve your active listening skills is to ask for feedback on how well you listen from others. You can request a friend, a colleague, a family member, or anyone you communicate with regularly to give you honest and constructive feedback on your strengths and weaknesses as a listener. You can also ask them to identify behaviors that help or hinder your listening ability.

8. Practice active listening in different settings and contexts

Active listening skills are helpful for personal or professional conversations and other settings where you need to listen effectively. For example, you can practice active listening when you watch a movie, read a book, listen to a podcast, attend a lecture, or participate in a group discussion. You can apply the same techniques of showing interest, using positive body language, paraphrasing, providing feedback, avoiding interruptions, reflecting on biases, and asking for feedback in these situations.

9. Learn from other good listeners

Another way to improve your active listening skills is to learn from other good listeners you admire or respect. You can observe how they listen actively in different scenarios and try to emulate their behaviors and strategies. You can also ask them for tips or advice on how they developed their listening skills.

10. Keep practicing and improving

Active listening is not a skill that you can master overnight. Rather this skill requires constant practice and improvement. Don’t be discouraged by mistakes or setbacks, instead use them as opportunities to grow as a listener. You should remember the behaviors you considered unreasonable in the past and avoid making the same mistake when communicating.

The bottom line

Listening is more than just hearing. Listening is an active process to consciously understand what the speaker is saying.

Active listening is an essential communication skill that can positively impact all areas of your life. By following the EDU Hacks we’ve shared in this article, you can improve your active listening skills. Whether in a personal or professional setting, these tips will help you build stronger relationships and avoid misunderstandings.

So why wait? Start practicing active listening today, and watch as your communication skills soar! If you want more EDU Hacks, sign up and join our community. 

Follow us

Top Articles

Share this article

The world is waiting to hear your voice!

EDU Blog is the perfect place to share your insights and experiences with the world. Apply to become a guest author today!

Related Articles