Imagine listening to someone talk about a topic and minutes into the conversation you realize that you haven’t been paying attention. Most of us must have experienced this before. Your mind might have wandered off, you got bored of what they were talking about, or you were not paying attention due to a lot of reasons. In some cases, the person speaking may even ask a question, and you would be unable to answer because you hadn’t been listening to them. This is where active listening comes in. Active listening helps you connect to who you are having a conversation with and helps you remain interested in what they are talking about.
Being able to listen actively helps build trust and establish a relationship with the person. Listen to them and ask questions afterward to show that you listened and are interested in what they talked about.
Active listening involves showing concern and expressing an open mind towards what they are talking about. To show that you were listening to what they were talking about, paraphrase their words. For instance, if the person said something like, “I am having a hard time at work. My boss is too difficult to please.” You, as an active listener, could say something like, “I hear that your boss is giving you a hard time at work.” You can even encourage them to talk more about it if you have experienced something like that before and offer them tips to get through such a situation.
If you go for counseling in Orlando to learn how to listen actively, you will learn that non-verbal clues are important during conversations. Maintain eye contact, nod occasionally, and lean forward to show that you are interested and engrossed in the conversation. Crossing your arms or looking blank does not demonstrate interest.
Chip in quick affirmations and small statements like, “Thank you,” “Oh, Okay” work well. Interject sparingly, so you do not take over the conversation because they are the one expressing their thoughts to you. Make sure you ask open-ended questions that make them express themselves more and trust you better rather than precise questions with "Yes" or "No" answers. Instead of asking questions like, “Does your boss act this way towards you alone?” ask questions like “At what point of the day does your boss act hostile towards you?” Specific questions like this make the other person feel that you are genuinely concerned about their concerns.
You also have to be patient for the other person to finish with what they are saying before throwing in questions and interjections. Give them the chance to talk, leave a moment of silence for you two to gather your thoughts so you can know what to say.
Give instances where you have had a similar experience so they can feel that the person they are talking to is connected to them in a way. Make sure you do not hijack the moment from them by making it all about you, but just let them know that you can relate perfectly to what they are going through.
Counseling in Orlando can help get through a lot of things especially with providing listening ears that a worried person can talk to. You can also get some active listening lessons from a counselor so that you can be more helpful to your friends and relations. Schedule an appointment with a counselor at Orlando Thrive Therapy today by calling 407-592-8997.
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.