Active Listening Skills Improve Communication & Group Dynamics

community leadership Jun 24, 2020

When it comes to today's emotionally charged conversations we are in danger of becoming more and more divided, misunderstood and disconnected.

We live in a world where everyone wants their voices and opinions heard, and with all of the online mediums available, it's easier than ever to share your thoughts with the world.

But who is really listening? What power do these words have if they aren't actually heard?

In truth, the most powerful communication tool is not speaking, but listening, really listening. In today's world of nonstop noise, it's a skill that's becoming a rarity.

What happens when we don't listen to each other? We become disconnected. We misunderstand each other, become suspicious, and mistrustful.

When we fail to listen, we stop engaging with ideas outside of our personal beliefs. We lack empathy, and simply dismiss ideas that are not our own.

How can we listen better?

If we are to have effective and important emotionally charged conversations, we must engage in active listening.

You'll communicate well when you listen well. This includes taking responsibility for your own listening.

In last week's blog on How to Have Emotionally Charged Conversations with Ease we shared about listening to understand, not to respond.

This comes with a need to understand some background context about the person you're communicating with. They might be screaming about something on the outside, where the emotional context underneath is that they're feeling lonely, scared and/or overwhelmed and they really just need a hug.

When you actively listen to not only the words that are spoken, but the underlying emotional cues and background context, then you're both able to get to the heart of the matter.

In this journey called life we all have filters.

Everyone has preconceived notions that come into play during communication and this impacts everything.

If you're not aware of these unconscious factors, you could unknowingly cause people to shrink away or pull back from the conversation.

If you're completely oblivious to the fact that your words or actions are offending someone, then you risk losing the connection.

Awareness is power, especially when it comes to group dynamics. If effective communication is to happen you must commit to being aware and responsible for the way that you listen and judge.

Have curiosity and compassion.

Empathy brings compassion to the conversation and creates a safe environment to open up and be vulnerable. Empathic listening helps the speaker to feel understood.

Everyone has a unique perspective. Remember to stand in curiosity.

Listen and respect their worldview, regardless of the fact that you may not agree with them. Relate and love the other person anyway.

Through active listening you can enter their world and understand things deeper. You'll start to see the world as they do, and feel things as they feel them.

As a result, you'll better understand the world, expand your horizons, and continue learning.

Explore further in the next SpiralMethod webinar.

We'll be exploring this topic further in our next SpiralMethod webinar happening July 1st, called Easeful and Genuine Communication in Times of High Emotion. Register for that here now.

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