Ever wonder how some people are just great with connecting with others? Not only is this due to the ability to speak well, but listening too!
Reflective listening: more than words
Being an active listener is one of the best ways to connect with people, engage them and make them feel valued. Also known as 'reflective listening', active listening is a simple technique, enables you to better understand a speaker's message and emotions.
Anyone can benefit from practicing reflective listening. It can help develop your communication skills and be:
A more supportive spouse, partner, friend
A more sensitive salesperson, manager, leader, colleague, employee
A more empathetic counselor, parent, therapist, confidante
A better problem solver
How does reflective listening work?
The main idea is to try to understand the key message or idea and then offer it back to the speaker to confirm that the message or idea has been understood. The speaker can then clarify his or her meaning and the conversation can go on.
This interactive way of communication is a constructive way to resolve conflict, brainstorm, share ideas and understand others better.
Some examples of reflective listening include:
Paraphrasing what is said. Use phases like: ‘Correct me if I’m wrong…’; ‘I take it to understand…’; ‘What I’m hearing is…’, etc
Identifying the emotion as well as the facts. If someone says “I am worried I am going to lose my job”, don’t say “Don’t worry, I’m sure it’s going to be alright”. Instead, empathise and offer them a way to elaborate: “That’s a scary thought. What do you think you can do if that happens?”
Letting the speaker know you acknowledge their emotions and accept their perspective (even if you don’t agree). Use phrases such as: “It sounds as if you feel….” or “I can see why you feel like this…”
Ultimately, reflective listening listen can help you be a better communicator because you are actively engaging in the communication process. By practicing reflective listening you can develop a better understanding of what others are saying, build trust and rapport, improve communication and increase personal empathy