My gosh it is hard to engage in active listening! I participated in an active listening study where I acted as a coach and my teammate was my client. I had to allow my client to talk to me about a particular topic without me giving advice, sharing my opinion or sharing a relevant story. This was really hard for me because
I love to offer advice or information or share a similar story so the person I’m speaking with knows they are not alone in whatever they’re experiencing.
The goal of the active listening activity I participated in was to teach me how to be present during a conversation.
We oftentimes miss A LOT because we halfway listen or we are focusing on what we will say in response.
Sometimes we don’t even wait for the person to finish speaking before we begin interjecting! I’m guilty of this for sure.
Instead of giving my advice, opinion or sharing a story, I could only say things like “Tell me more” or “How does this issue show up in your work?” or “What’s important to you about (topic)?, or “Is there anything else you’d like to share?”.
This was very hard for me and I’m sure if you try it you will find it hard and somewhat awkward too. Try it and leave me a comment letting me know how the conversation went!
Until next time…