Engaged Listening: Becoming an Engaged Listener

What’s Engaged Listening?

Engaged listening includes listening to the words being said, but also be aware of body language, tone of voice, and other non-verbal cues.

Effective communication is about more than just exchanging information. It’s about understanding the emotion and intentions behind the information.

When communicating with people, we often times focus on what we should say. However, effective communication is less about talking and more about listening. Listening well means not just understanding the words or the information being communicated, but also understanding the emotions the speaker is trying to convey.

There’s a big difference between engaged listening and simply hearing. When you’re an engaged listener, you will not only be better at understanding the other person, you’ll also make that person feel heard and understood, which helps build a stronger, deeper connection between you.

Do you want to become an engaged listener? Do you want to understand and connect with people when they’re talking to you?

Here are five (5) tips to help you out;

Tip 1: Set your focus fully on the speaker. Many of us are fond of always checking our phones when someone is speaking to us. You can’t listen in an engaged way if you’re constantly checking your phone or thinking about something else. Get rid of all distractions. You need to stay focused on the moment-to-moment experience in order to pick up the nonverbal cues in a conversation. If you’re finding it hard to concentrate on what the speaker is saying, try repeating his or her words over in your head; it’ll help to reinforce his or her message and help you stay focused.

Tip 2: Favour your right ear. It’s believed that the left side of the brain contains the primary processing centres for both speech comprehension and emotions and is connected to the right side of the body, hence, favouring your right ear can help you better detect not only the message, but also the emotion behind it. Strange, isn’t it?

Tip 3: Avoid interrupting or trying to redirect the conversation to yourself.

Don’t forget, listening is not the same as waiting for your turn to talk. For some of us, we are guilty of already forming what we’re to say next while the speaker is still talking to us. You can’t concentrate on what a speaker is saying if you have a ready thought or response in your mind. Doing this, we are only focused on what we want to say. Also, the speaker can read your facial expressions and know that your mind’s elsewhere.

Tips 4: Show your interest in what’s being said. While listening to a speaker, nod from time to time, smile at the speaker, keep an open and inviting posture to acknowledge him or her. This is one of the ways to improve communication and become an engaged listener.

Tip 5: Set aside judgment. Remember, when listening to a speaker, you don’t have to agree with what he or she is saying or their opinions. Having said that, you do need to set aside your judgment and withhold blame and criticism in order to fully understand them

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