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How to Practice Active Listening for an Empathetic Life

It’s time to take a step back. Have you opened your ears lately and truly listened to the world around you? There’s a difference between listening to those around you and hearing those around you. Active listening involves true comprehension of what is being said and hearing happens when you simply take what is being said in one ear and easily out the other. When you open yourself up to actively listening, you’ll be surprised at how much you gain in return. Check out these tips to implement active listening into your lifestyle, as well as what you can take away in return!

 

Practice the Three A’s of Active Listening

According to Universal Class, in order to practice your active listening skills, simply try to remember the three A’s: Attitude, Attention and Adjustment. Here’s how you can put these into practice.
 

  1. Attitude
    Coming into the conversation, it’s important to have the right attitude. Consider if you’re emotionally open to the conversation and able to devote your attention to what the other person is saying. It’s also important to leave your bias at the door, and come in with an open mind to the conversation. With the right attitude, you’re off to a great start.
     
  2. Attention
    Active listening involves giving your undivided attention to the person speaking. Consider if there are distractions in your environment and if you’re able to give your undivided attention. If not, consider moving the conversation or eliminating the distractions.
     
  3. Adjustment
    Active listening involves taking in the information and responding after fully listening and comprehending the information. That means the conversation may not go the way you anticipated. In active listening, you should practice pivoting based on the information you’re receiving and repeating the information in a way that helps you make sense of it.

 

Open Your Mind to New Conversations

Now that you know how to actively listen, it’s time to put it into practice. Find people who may not agree with your every idea and have an open and honest conversation. It’s incredibly difficult to have these conversations if you don’t agree with everything being said. However, all humans are motivated by past experiences or the way they’ve been introduced to the world. Consider that your way of thinking isn’t the only way of thinking out there, and expand your mind. When you open yourself up to more world views, you’re able to better empathize with the world around you. 

 

Meet New People

Every friend started as an acquaintance. Take your active listening skills and start a conversation with new potential friends. Whether you’re at the airport, the grocery store or simply meeting a friend of a friend for the first time, active listening can help you expand your friendship circle. Who knows what opening your circle could bring—often it could help you expand your mind and continue to be empathetic toward those you may have never had the opportunity to get to know. 

 

How will you implement active listening into your everyday life? Put away your phone and focus on the conversation in front of you. You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn, and the possibilities are endless. Use active listening to increase your empathy skills and truly understand those around you. 

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