It might be a clique, but it's true: a lot of team problems can be solved with active listening.
Active listening is a technique of careful listening and observation of non-verbal cues, with feedback in the form of accurate paraphrasing, that is used in counseling, training, and solving disputes or conflicts. It requires the listener to pay attention, understand, respond and remember what is being said in the context of intonation, timing, and non-verbal cues (body language).
By mastering this skill, you'll no longer have a conversation that ends with an inner dialogue that goes:
- "What did they say?"
- "What did they mean?"
- "Should I have asked a question?"
- "What should I do next?"
Learn how to actively listen
The sense that we are not being listened to is one of the most frustrating feelings imaginable. Toddlers scream about it, teenagers move out, couples split up, companies breakdown.
One of the main reasons this breakdown in communication occurs is that listening (like reading, thinking clearly and focusing) is a skill which we rarely consider to be something requiring knowledge and practice.
If you try to improve your listening skills, you’ll notice a lot of discussion about “listening with intent.” That phrase means different things to different people, but here’s how we will use it.