Active listening is a skill that can be acquired and developed but it is important to incorporate the four components, C.A.R.E.
C is for Concentrate; this means, make an effort to really focus your attention on the speaker.
A is for Acknowledge; through body language, nod your head occasionally or say ‘uh-huh’ to assure the other you are engaged in the communication process.
R is for Respond; ask questions for clarification and to express interest in the other person. Paraphrase back what you are hearing the other person saying. Finally,
E is for Empathize; share in the emotions and feelings of the other person. Empathy means you understand, not that you necessarily agree.
So, the next time you are involved in an important conversation, pause the chatter in your mind and start really listening. It’s amazing what you will discover.
Remember, everyone wants to and has a need to connect through communication. Especially with listening, we all want to be heard and listened to. If we keep this in mind, it will be easier for us to make a concerted effort to listen to others rather than focusing primarily on our own agenda or thoughts.
Now, I invite you to embark on a treasure hunt and to set an intention of gathering nuggets of information (a.k.a. gold) from your conversations so that you learn and grow and the people you converse with feel seen, heard, valued and appreciated. After all, isn't this why we engage with others - to share, learn, grow, inspire, challenge, and be challenged, have fun, and be productive?!
Take your listening skills to a new level by being a champion active listener. Listen with C.A.R.E.
And, then please come back and share some of the gold you've been blessed to acquire.
Abound in grace, Karen