Listening is one of the hardest skills we can cultivate, but it’s also one of the most necessary. There’s a difference between hearing and listening that most people fail to recognize. Hearing is one of the five senses. Listening, on the other hand, is a relationship. Read more for handy tips on mindful listening.
The Benefits of Listening
- Stress relief. When we are focused, present, and aware, we experience less stress. Therefore when we are actively listening to another person, we become more relaxed and feel less anxious.
- Lower blood pressure. Research studies have shown that when we speak it raises our blood pressure; in fact, we often experience a fight-or-flight response. On the other hand, the act of listening lowers our blood pressure.
- Stronger relationships. In today’s world, we are often distracted by our technology—texts, calls, and emails. Checking for text messages while someone else is talking is a sign that we have lost our respect for others. Learning to listen will positively impact our personal and professional relationships and build stronger communication skills.
- Increased productivity. When it comes to a working environment, productivity is key. Listening to the concerns of employees and customers is what makes for a great boss and a successful business.
Tips to Learn the Skill of Listening
- Awareness, awareness, awareness. The greatest communicators are the most aware people. We need an open mind and an open heart to consider the needs of the person talking.
- Be present. Move to a place that is more intimate and quiet. With no distractions, people can better focus on the conversation and be present in the moment.
- Body language. All communication is not verbal, so we must be aware of our body language. Face the other person, be aware of gestures and facial expressions, and make eye contact. The more relaxed and engaged we are the easier the other person will find it to talk.
- Attitude. When we’re listening it’s important to have an attitude of respect and kindness. Listening is an act of grace and when we open our heart and mind to others we are letting grace into our lives.