Active listening is sometimes remiss in our busy day to day, and yet it is such a crucial component of connection. Actually stopping to focus on what others are trying to say to us becomes a mix of multitasking, thinking about our response instead of their words, looking at our phones or smart watches, or thinking about something else entirely. We owe each other better.
We have all been on the giving and receiving end of “pretend active listening”, but I don’t think any of us deserve to be on either side. Put the phone down. Focus your attention. Genuinely listen to the person speaking to you.
One facet of active listening that is helpful and communicates engagement is eye contact. I believe it shows respect and says “I am listening and interested in what you have to say.” This is a simple thing that I demand in coaching. If you can’t do this, then politely end the conversation, don’t fake it. (Go try this today!)
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