“The word ‘listen’ contains the same letters as the word ‘silent’’. – Alfred Brendel
A friend of mine recently reminded me of the importance of active listening. Often in the business of daily activities, I neglect to proactively listen to those who I am in conversation with. I can drift off into thinking of the brilliant response or retort I will deliver or thinking of what I need to do next or where I need to go to next when we’re done conversing.
I realized I need to focus again on my active listening skills. Hence, I am declaring to you my ‘Active Listening Manifesto’.
- Without interrupting others, I will let them complete their sentences and thoughts. I will not interrupt. I will thoughtfully listen to their point of view.
- I will communicate person-to-person or face-to-face when the topic calls for deep context and clear communication to avoid hidden messages that are often read into emails or text messages.
- I will engage in body language that communicates to the other person that I am actively listening and engaged.
- I will be present at all times and when I notice drifting on my part, I will shift my body to bring awareness back to the present.
- I will practice the techniques of active listening that I teach: repeating, reflecting or reframing.
- I will not multi-task during any conversation, especially virtual conversations.
- If for any reason I am not 100% available to achieve the above, I will request the conversation be rescheduled until I can be fully present.
- I will remain curious during all conversations using questions to stimulate thoughts and clarify points.
“Seek first to understand, then be understood.” – Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
What would you include in your ‘Active Listening Manifesto’?