How often when someone else is talking to you do you really listen to everything they are saying? Do you stay open minded to their opinion? Do you acknowledge to them with verbal and nonverbal communication that you are listening to them? Or are you just thinking about the next thing you are going to stay? Maybe you don’t even notice you do this. Go test it out on your next conversation. Don’t sit there and pay attention to how much you are paying attention but really sit back and see how much you are actually engaged in the conversation.
So what did you conclude? Maybe it was a mixture of both. Maybe you didn’t even remember what the other person said but only remember what point of view you are discussing. The whole reasoning for this blog is to open up your active listening skills to truly benefit you over the years. With active listening we are able to really learn more in life.
We seem to not notice much many biases, opinions, and certain points of view we strongly possess until we engage in a conversation with someone who has the opposite view. All of the sudden we start gently raising our voice, minor interruptions in the other persons talking time occur, and our blood starts boiling. We feel as though we are lawyers arguing our point to the death in order to prove something that doesn’t really even matter. Ever got done with a conversation and thought to yourself “I was right and they were wrong” or just not talked to that person for a while because of the conversation? Yes we all do.
The fun part of conversations is that you are able to see another person’s point of view on anything in life. Maybe it’s about sports, relationships, the best movie ever, or just about which place is better to eat at for lunch. Whatever it might be we need to learn to be good active listeners.
There really are so many benefits to active listening but let’s talk about the most beneficial. First of all, it allows you to chive with strangers you just met. Whether it is a business conversation, elevator talk, or a job interview it allows you to show respect toward the other person and their opinion, get your opinion off successfully, and really have a quality conversation. And probably learn something about them. Another beneficial point is that we are able to see another person’s point of view. Maybe we learn why Colgate is better than Crest, or how a tree falling in the woods definitely makes a noise (does it?). No matter what it is we benefit from seeing why another person thinks that way. Whether they are right or wrong doesn’t matter, but that we see outside of that stubborn head of ours is the best part.
Life is about engaging with others, not arguing points of view. When someone talks we should listen as it definitely will help us in our everyday discussions and benefit us dramatically in our jobs whether we are yoga instructors or hostage negotiators. Give it a try though and see how much you really are engaging in your conversation. If you are pretty bad at it just practice. Enjoy others points of view, learn something new, and see what difference it makes.
Now go out there and give it a try. You got this.