Why become an engaged listener?
For most people, communication is all about speaking. Not many realize that listening to the speaker is as important in forming an effective communication chain. There is a sea of a difference between a simple listener and an engaged listener. The former merely receives the words, information and context of the speaker; whereas the latter also takes into account the emotional value they are trying to communicate. An engaged listener can detect the slight variations in the speaker’s voice and the intonations that underline his emotional state. This allows him to understand the true meaning of what the speaker is trying to communicate. This in turn can help you empathize and relate to the speaker in a better way, which will definitely set the right tone in your relationship.
So how do you become an engaged listener?
If you are genuinely interested in what a person is trying to say or you deeply care about the person in one way or the other, listening in an engaged manner comes naturally to you. For those of us with a fleeting attention span or who can’t seem to get to the bottom of the speaker’s minds, the below tips can go a long way in helping them be an engaged listener.
· Pay undivided attention to the speaker: You need to give your complete attention to the speaker; the words he speak, his subtle intonations, hand gestures, body language, his eyes and anything about him that is trying to convey one thing or the other. Chances are that if you take it all in carefully, you will find yourself falling in sync with the speaker very soon. If he is speaking too fast or is disoriented, try repeating the messages over in your head and put it all together to draw a logical conclusion.
· No interruptions: Most people have the unhealthy habit of interrupting a speaker and trying to narrate a similar experience they had. This not only breaks the speaker’s rhythm, it will also check the natural flow of thought. The moment your mind starts going down memory lane in search of similar memories, it shows on your face and the speaker feels you are not interested in what he is saying.
· Display interest: Make sure you verbally and non-verbally egg on the speaker just to let him know you follow his train of thought. A simple smile or a facial expression every now and then can do the trick.