In a world where technology has integrated with our routines, making distraction the norm and focus an elusive pursuit, do you listen to understand different perspectives, broaden your outlook and become more open-minded or do you just listen to reply? If you fall into the former category, you are an active listener. And well if you fall into the latter, may this article offer you clarity to make your next conversation, a truly enriching one.
Active listening, an essential skill to make new connections and form lasting relationships, involves being present and fully engaged with the person speaking, giving the listener an opportunity to understand a different perspective.
Understanding different perspectives makes us more empathetic, thereby positively influencing the way we approach experiences, both personal and professional. From a Forming Impact point-of-view, we’ve seen that more emphatic business leaders, impact investors and pioneers always lead the way by being changemakers for their communities, countries and the world. They find solutions and make informed decisions by actively listening to different perspectives, and this approach inspires and motivates other people to explore their purpose and reach their full potential.
Building lasting relationships is another important benefit of active listening. When we truly listen to others, they feel heard and valued. This helps to build trust and respect, and leads to stronger, more meaningful relationships. This is not just limited to a personal setting but extends to professional relationships as well.
Actively listening can also help us to better prepare for what lies ahead. By listening to things that inspire and educate, and the diverse perspectives of peers, colleagues, friends and family, we can gain new insights, learn from their experiences, identify potential challenges and find novel solutions to what may lie ahead.
Now as a sign off, I leave you with a moment from my recent Forming Impact trip to Necker Island: As I sat by the beach listening to the sounds of waves crashing against the shore and the buzz of technology fading in the background, I listened to my thoughts and navigated the various decision that had brought me to that very point in life; my inner voice had helped rekindle my purpose. I was fully present in that moment of solace and able to not just hear my thoughts, but deeply understand what they were trying to tell me.
It’s important to remember that listening to ourselves is just as important as listening to others. When we take the time to listen to our own thoughts and feelings, we can better understand our needs and make more informed decisions that positively impact our life.