Active listening is a skill one can learn to enhance relationships.
As the name suggests, it involves techniques to improve one’s capacity to connect with others, via a focus on hearing them better.
In the presentation I outlined what I consider to be the basic techniques.
Curiously, an email showed up in my inbox this morning from the Gottman Institute, one of the leading organisations exploring relationship health.
They linked to an article written years back on the topic of Active Listening.
The article provides a series of tips to further enhance the Active Listening process – ones that capture the stance/attitude of active listening better than just the techniques themselves.
- focus on being interested, not interesting – it isn’t about you
- focus on asking questions about people’s goals and visions for the future – this links to a previous article I wrote about how mutual support of achieving goals may be a foundation for good relationships
- look for commonalities – say enough but not too much to communicate to the person you are on common ground
- tune in with all your attention – put that mindfulness training you’ve been doing to good use
- let go of your agenda – try entering the conversation with the view of simply understanding, not fixing or rescuing or telling your own story
It is worth a read if you want to develop this skill for yourself.
I also like this video from the School of Life 🙂