Active Listening, The Most Underrated Skill

Rarely will you ever see “Active Listening” as a requirement on a job post. It is assumed that you will listen as we all do. The challenge is that most people listen with the sole intent to reply. So what is the difference? In simple terms, Active Listening is listening with the intent to understand vs listening with the intent to reply.

I recently shared this with my son. We were having a conversation and I could see that he was innately listening with the intent to reply, as his father has done so most of his life. I shared with him the difference between the both and it was like a lightbulb went off. The very next time we were talking he reminded me about active listening and I could not have been more proud of him for even understanding the concept (and the importance), and adopting it so soon!

There are several blogs out there with keen insight to active listening. For example, here is a helpful blog that lists the visual cues of an active listener. While all valid, it is pretty simple to spot someone who is actively listening by actively listening to them!

When you actively listen in business, you are freeing up your mind to understand your customer. You are taking off your manager hat and you are listening to your employees to thoroughly understand their position. When someone feels heard, they feel valued. A valued customer or employee is less apt to seek out another suitor. People who feel heard will tell you everything you need to know. Extra credit tip: This works amazing on significant others too!

Using Negativity To Empower You

Turn a negative into a positive!

Finding negativity in your everyday life is easy to do.  One does not have to look far.  We all have friends and acquaintances who offer the negativity “gift” on a daily basis. What you do with this gift is what counts.  You can choose to accept the gift and re-gift it to others in the same wrapping paper (probably the most innate action), or you can choose to accept the gift and change the wrapping paper before you re-gift it, and/or keep the gift for yourself.

Negativity is an opportunity. When you are faced with negativity from another person or a situation, it is completely within your control how to accept it or not accept it. Some may challenge you to not accept the gift at all, and that is a fine action. However, why let that gift go to waste? Why not accept that gift and create an opportunity?

If someone tells me with negative tones that I dance like a robot, I would probably laugh first. Then I would thank them for their astute observation. Then I would take their gift and do two things. The next time I was dancing I would make sure to rock the robot like no one has ever rocked it before. Then I would make it a point to compliment my dance partner on her great moves or offer that same compliment to another on the dance floor. The recipient feels good, the sender feels good, and I am also rocking the robot. Can you say win-win?

Don’t let negativity dictate your energy. Use negativity to empower your actions and choose happiness.