Shhhhhh. Hear that?
While most people focus on what to say, how to say it, and when to speak up, listening is an active, valuable part of communication to ensure you’re building trust, respect and growing your skills.
Communications practitioners teach about a form of listening called active listening. It’s the way you hear more than just the words spoken: It’s how you’ll build mutual understanding by acknowledging, paraphrasing and responding to what the other person is saying (instead of simply waiting for your turn to speak).
Wayne State University in Detroit published a brief and succinct explanation of active listening skills that includes:
- Paying attention (refrain from thinking about what you want to say and listen to what the other person is saying).
- Demonstrate that you’re listening (nodding your head in agreement, for instance, tells the other person you’re considering what they’re saying).
- Offer feedback and input by rephrasing what they’re telling you to demonstrate that you actually heard and understand them.
- Respond appropriately and resist the urge to judge or negate the information that was just shared with you.
While these are great skills to learn for networking, on-the-job relationship building and interviewing, there’s another communication skill that’s worth mentioning to truly amplify your career and relationships: Validation.
When we validate someone’s message, we go deeper than acknowledging we hear them or see that they are struggling, happy, or confused. Validation means we can imagine what that might feel like, and it builds empathy and deeper relationships. When we validate someone’s feelings, we acknowledge and affirm that their feelings (and therefore they) are seen and worthy.
Start practicing validation by listening to your own needs:
- When you share something with a colleague, your spouse, a friend, or a mentor, how do they respond that makes you feel like they understood how you’re feeling and acknowledge the worthiness of having that feeling?
- When are they missing the mark, leaving you to feel the void? Then, practice validating other people’s feelings and see the response.
You might just find your relationships become more vibrant and significant — in your personal and professional life.
**extract from my article on Military.com
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Back in January, I had the first LinkedIn LIVE session about effective communication, and it was great! My guest speaker Melody Godfred and I shared insights on how to:
- find your voice
- communicate authentically
- craft succinct messages
- make an impact with your message, and more
Another great LinkedIn LIVE session on effective communication was Mastering Effective Communication: Tactical strategies for your leadership growth. My guest speaker, Charles Good, and I shared key insights about:
- Active Listening
- Unlocking Body Language and Deception
- Hard Conversations with Difficult People
- Giving and Receiving Feedback