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PRACTICE ACTIVE LISTENING : Minimize Communication Barriers Effectively
July 15, 2015
Do you want to leave conversations feeling listened to, respected, and understood? Often, these feelings come from experiencing active listening as the giver and receiver of information. Active listening is a valuable listening skill to really understand what others are saying. As a result, all parties will minimize barriers by communicating effectively the first time.
Take some time to practice active listening and experience the difference. Here are three things to help you master this skill.
Remove distractions so you can be fully present. Appropriate eye contact, turning your body towards the person speaking, and putting down devices are all examples of how you can show a person that you are open to what they have to communicate. In addition, you will be able to use all of your senses to pick up on what is or is not being shared. In the busy world that we live in, being present is more important than ever so we don't miss an opportunity to help, connect, or show empathy to one another.
Repeat what was shared by the giver of the communication. This action tells the giver that you heard what was said correctly as the receiver. It is a critical step towards making sure intent matches impact. In addition, ensure your tone is objective without impression, maintain a calm disposition, and refrain from sharing your personal response until you have repeated what you heard. Otherwise, your delivery might present an unknown barrier to communication that was not intentional.
Ask clarifying questions. Limit any assumptions and/or judgements by asking clarifying questions. Seek to further understand the intent, desired impact, and how you contribute to next steps. In addition, asking clarifying questions can help you to gather important data or gain additional awareness for either party before you contribute a response to the communication. Practice this with a friend first so you can build your comfort level of asking questions versus offering a solution or response initially.
Practice active listening by utilizing these three things and you will minimize communication barriers effectively!