Active Listening is an important part of effective conflict resolution and is a vital part of creating good relationships. Active Listening is more than just hearing a person’s words. When done correctly, Active Listening allows the listener to develop an understanding of the intended meaning of the communication. The more the listener understands the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of the speaker, the more they will be able to resolve conflicts and communicate effectively. After all, how can you have effective communication without having a good understanding of what the other person is truly saying? Listed below are some steps that you can take to begin the process of Active Listening.
- Concentrate – Active Listening begins by focusing on what is being said. Turn off the TV, radio, phones, etc. to minimize distractions.
- Limit Your Own Talking – You can’t talk and listen at the same time. Remember that Active Listening is an active attempt on your part to understand the other person’s thoughts and feelings, not an attempt to tell them your thoughts and feelings.
- Don’t Interrupt – Let the other person finish their thoughts. If you interrupt, you may miss the entire point that they are trying to make.
- Turn Off Your Own Worries – Don’t let your own worries prevent you from focusing on what the other person is trying to communicate.
- Listen for Ideas – Not Just Words – Don’t get lost in the details of the story. Listen for the main ideas of the story and try to understand why those ideas are important to the person who is talking.
- Listen for The Themes in The Examples That Are Given – Your partner may describe several examples of their feeling. Try to connect the different examples together by listening to the common themes within the examples.
- Don’t Jump to Conclusions – Don’t assume that you know what the other person is trying to communicate. Let them finish their thoughts. Remember that they are the expert on what they mean. If they say that you don’t understand, then you missed some key point they were trying to make.
- Ask Questions to Clarify Meaning – If you get mixed messages or don’t understand the intended communication, ask questions. Remember that Active Listening involves actively trying to understand the other person, not just trying to get them to finish talking.
- Paraphrase – After your partner has finished talking, paraphrase what you heard. This will help ensure that you have understood the intended communication.
- Summarize – If you have understood your partner, you should be able to summarize their intended communication within a single sentence. If it takes more than this, you have probably missed the meaning that they were trying to communicate.
- Remember the Goal of Listening is to Understand – It often takes multiple attempts to truly understand another person’s intended communication. So be patient and remember that the goal of Active Listening is to understand the other person.
Effective Listening is often an acquired skill. Be patient and persistent and you can develop the ability to resolve conflicts and create more meaningful relationships.
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.