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Active Listening

You may think that you are always listening to others… are you sure?

Active listening – the act of truly engaging with what someone is saying – is essential for effective communication. It’s a common scenario in our daily lives: someone is talking to us, but our minds are elsewhere. Maybe we’re worried about a deadline, or we’re replaying an argument we had earlier in the day. As a result, we’re not actively listening to the person in front of us. Recent studies suggest that this is a pervasive issue and one that has serious consequences for our personal and professional relationships. When we’re not actively listening, we miss important information, misunderstand what’s being said, and risk damaging our relationships with others. So the next time someone starts talking, try putting away those distractions and giving them your full attention. You might just be surprised by how much you hear.

Active listening can be described as intentionally focusing on who is speaking in order to understand what is meant. It is one of the most important skills everyone should have, regardless of their position or role within the project. It encourages being part of a team and maintaining effective communication with everyone around you. As experts have identified that listening is only 45% of the message, the rest can be increased with active listening.

Active Listening has three levels:

1. Basic listening – Quiet, passive listening; hearing the words and interpreting them into your own words

2. Listening to understand – Focused listening; listening to the words spoken and confirming without changing

3. Active listening – While listening, it includes the team’s environment, diversity and cultural background into a given message; try to understand the speaker’s point of view.

There are different methods to improve active listening, such as HEAR Method.

Active listening is an important skill for anyone to have, no matter their role in a project. With active listening, you can better understand the message behind what someone is saying and take into account various environmental factors like cultural background or diversity. The HEAR method provides one way of improving your own active listening skills. Ultimately, by actively engaging with the person speaking and considering more than just words being said, you will be able to build stronger relationships within teams and ensure that everyone’s voice is heard. This helps create a productive working environment and encourages collaboration between team members as they feel respected and listened to.

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