Active listening: the key to effective communication

Listening is one of the most essential aspects of communication. If we don’t learn how to listen properly and deeply, it’s possible that we will not have an effective interaction with our environment.  

We often think that communication involves speaking and transmitting thoughts or ideas to others. Such an understanding is correct, though incomplete.

Our personal relationships and the way we connect with others are shaped by the way we listen.

Not feeling heard can be frustrating. It’s not uncommon to hear typical phrases like “you are not paying attention to me”, “my boss seldom listens to me”. We generally speak to get their attention, but many times that doesn’t happen. 


“Most people do not listen with the intention to understand;

They listen with the intention to reply”

Stephen R. Covey 


We all have the ability to hear the words that the other person expresses, but not all of us have the ability to listen and understand what the other intends to communicate. Listening is a skill that we rarely consider as something that requires practice and knowledge.  




How do we learn to listen? 

It is important to understand that one always tends to listen to things from their perspective. Each person is influenced by a history, by a culture and by different factors, such as gender, age, etc. 

We understand that everyone is different and therefore we distinguish the world with different eyes. But when it comes to interacting or communicating, we take it for granted that we all see things the same way. This is the main reason why we don’t build the skills to listen well and conflicts become more regular than usual in our lives.

In order to have a good conversation, there must be mutual respect between two people.

When you truly recognise that the other person is different and sees life in a specific way, you will be able to create a real space where the other person can express himself or herself. This helps you perceive what he or she wants to communicate and position yourself to understand those ideas and thoughts better.

If one cannot validate the other person in a conversation, he or she will remain in the constant state of “You are wrong, I am right” and an effective conversation will be nearly impossible. 

It is also essential to be able to ask questions when one has doubts in a conversation. This will serve to clarify those questions and above all, to avoid prejudices during communication. 

Effective communication is an essential skill for keeping good relationships, developing strong bonds with children or friends, and achieving work commitments in a productive way with our colleagues.

Do you want to know more about active listening? 

Julian Treasure provides 5 tips in his TED talk that helps you acquire a deeper and more conscious listening. 



Questions to think about: 

* Have you ever stopped to think how you are listening?  

* Are you usually willing to listen to others?  

* Do you listen to yourself? Do you listen to your emotions? 


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Constanza Canónica
Constanza Canónica

Nuna's psychologist. If you need advice to find a therapist, I can help you choose the most suitable one for you!

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