The art of active listening: how to truly hear and understand others
In a world where everyone is busy, it is important to take the time to listen to those around us. Sometimes, all we need is someone to hear us out and acknowledge our feelings.
For Mike, a simple question from his friend Jane made a big difference. Instead of brushing off his sadness after a tough history test, Jane took the time to ask how he was feeling. When Mike opened up to her, instead of offering solutions, Jane simply listened and showed empathy.
Many times, we feel like we have to offer advice or fix a problem for someone when all they really need is a listening ear. It is important to remember that being there for someone and acknowledging their feelings can make a huge difference in their day.
So, the next time someone comes to you with a problem, instead of jumping to solutions, try to really listen to what they have to say. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is let someone know that we are there for them and that their feelings are valid.
Remember, it’s not always about finding a solution, but rather being a supportive presence in someone’s life.
And this is what active listening does: it offers the ability to fully engage with others during a conversation. This involves paying attention, processing what they are saying, and responding appropriately. Active listening is an essential soft skill that can greatly improve communication, build stronger relationships, and foster a greater sense of empathy (Grande, 2020).
Why is active listening important?
This soft skill helps children understand and empathize with others, which can improve their relationships and ability to work with others. It also helps them develop better critical thinking skills, as they are invited to process and analyze what they hear (Fuller, 2021).
So how can we enhance active listening in children?
The first step is to teach them how to be fully present during a conversation. This means putting away distractions like phones and tablets, making eye contact, and actively engaging with the other person (Riggio, 2019).
It is also important to teach children how to ask open-ended questions and to encourage them to clarify what they have heard. This not only helps to ensure that they have understood the other person, but it also demonstrates to the other person that they are truly interested in what they have to say (Riggio, 2019).
This is what we aim for at Morphoses. Our online learning platform is designed to enhance soft skills, such as active listening in an adventurous way.
More specifically, a Morphoses activity that enhances active listening is “Catch me if you can”. In this activity, the tutor explains the team that an entrepreneur has disappeared mysteriously and their objective is to figure out what happened. The children are given a set of clues that were found by detectives who were searching for the missing CEO. However, the clues are well hidden in a series of puzzles, as the tutor explains to them. Through interactive storytelling and role-playing, children learn to communicate effectively, build relationships, and develop greater empathy and understanding.
At the end of the day, active listening is an essential soft skill that can greatly improve communication, build stronger relationships, and foster a greater sense of empathy. It is particularly important for children, who are still developing their soft skills from an early stage and have to learn how to communicate effectively.
So now, look next to you, have you communicated well today with your people, your parents, your friends, your colleagues, your kids?
What are you waiting for? Enrol in one of our Morphoses demo classes now!
Grande Ph.D., D. (2020). Active Listening Skills. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-it-together/202006/active-listening-skills#:~:text=Active%20listening%20is%20a%20way,office%20to%20the%20business%20world.
Fuller, M.D., K. (2021). The Difference Between Hearing and Listening. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/happiness-is-state-mind/202107/the-difference-between-hearing-and-listening
E. Riggio Ph.D., R. (2019). A Straightforward and Simple Guide to Active Listening. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201909/straightforward-and-simple-guide-active-listening