How to Use Active Listening to Improve Your Communication Skills

And make the whole experience more pleasurable

Every now and then, we meet new people with whom we like to talk to. People with whom we feel comfortable. People with whom we feel safe to share our thoughts and ideas. People with whom we are people too.

But have you ever wonder if you know how to listen to them? Where would the conversation have gone if you had intervened less and listened more? What about if you would have known how to ask the right questions at the right time?

Rules are Made to be Broken

Many times, listening to others, it’s an exciting thing to do. Especially when they have some fascinating stories to tell. However, listening should not always be passive. Often, if you choose to use active listening, the whole experience becomes better, both for the person you are talking to and you as well.

Stephen Covey once said, “most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.” And yet, to intervene is not wrong if you do it with the purpose of understanding better.

Therefore, if you want to improve your communication skills, you have to use active listening.

How to Listen Actively While Still Being a Listener

Imagine being surrounded by your friends, telling a personal story and all eyes being on you. How would you feel if those who would listen to you would ask you questions about your story? Most likely, you can’t wait to tell them more and answer them in detail.

To use active listening means to be a good editor.

Often, but not always, people who are not good storytellers will have a somewhat chaotic way of explaining things. Some of them will be lost in unnecessary details, while others will omit to empathise on certain parts of the story, which may have weighed more in the end.

In this case, you have to ask questions to help the narrator outline the script in the best way possible. But forget about the classic “What did you do next? “. Instead, go for “How did you feel about that?” or “What’s it feel like to be the…?”.

Good listeners aim to emphasise the interlocutor’s feelings, the one who lived the story he tells. By doing so, you will show interest in the narrator, and at the same time, you will help him share more.

The One Question Every Listener Should Ask Themselves

To communicate is to connect, either with the one in front of you or with your audience. But this is also true for you as a listener. That’s because, listening is also a communication skill.

If you pay attention to a person when he speaks to you, but you do not show any sign of empathy, it will be as if he speaks alone.

Marshall B. Rosenberg once said that “empathy is a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing.” In the same way, empathy is a sign of respect.

If you want to be a better listener, you have to make your companion feel comfortable and openly share his feeling.

To do this, you could mirror the person you speak to. When you build a rapport with somebody, and you mimic their body language, subtly not obvious, they will feel like they’re connected to you.

Another thing to keep in mind is not to do something that might close off a vulnerable confession.

If your companion wants to tell you something awkward, don’t roll your eyes if you feel that this might make him feel uncomfortable. Instead, try to find a moment when you also did something awkward and show empathy for him.

That’s why, as a listener, you should always ask yourself, “What can I do to make my companion feel comfortable?”.

Listening is just another form of art. And like any form of art, to master it, you must study it, apply it and not stop until you improve it.

However, if the person you confess to would help shape your story by using active listening, the whole experience would be even more pleasurable.

Nowadays, communication is the key to all relationships. Either in real life or online, everything connects as a result of communication. If you want to build solid and lasting relationships, you have to improve your communication skills as much as you can.

This is the reason why you have to use active listening whenever you listen to someone and you have the opportunity to interact with that person.

Artist | Writer during the day | Filmmaker during the night | Per aspera ad astra | Support me on Patreon:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store