In the current Corona Virus situation, we have less and less opportunity to have contact with other people. More communications are being done by emails and web meetings, and sometimes we are unable to fully communicate our intentions, and we cannot fully understand the ideas of others. When we have these offsets with each other in communications, it can lead to relationship issues and affect the progress in work.
To give the conclusion, we cannot change others, so we need to change ourselves. How we communicate is important, but today’s focus in on how we “listen” to others. In Japanese characters, there are 2 characters that express the word “listen” :
- Hear : To feel sound with your ear
- Listen : To listen carefully to understand the meaning of the sound
We “listen( 聞く)” to alot of people, but are we “listening(聴く)”? There is a methodology called “Active listening”, which was started in US which helps us to listen better. There are verbal and non-verbal methods, and I suggest that you use them based on different situations. Here are some useful methods:
- Repeat what the other person says : By repeating what they say, you can show that you are listening. This will help the speaker relax and have better communication
- Use open questions : Instead of asking questions that can only be answered with “Yes” or “No”, you can expand the conversation
- Use your own words to summarize : At the end of the discussion, make sure you summarize in your own words what the other person said so that both of you can have the same understanding. It is best to summarize in 3 points
- Nod : There’s nothing more difficult that talking with no reaction from the listener. Let’s show that you are paying attention by simply nodding with what the speaker is saying
- Eye contact : I was told by my father when I was little to “Listen to others with your eyes”. Eye contact is very important. You can tell if someone is not listening to you; Checking emails, looking at the clock, looking off into the distance. You can show that you are listening by having good eye contact
- Mirroring : By “mirroring” the actions of the other person, the other person can feel relatable with you. You can simply mirror the other person’s posture or small gestures to help open up that person’s heart
Communication is becoming more and more difficult to do, so that is why we need to have more quality communications when we can. Let’s use active listening to improve relationships and help work more efficiently.