Active listening is a communication technique that involves giving your full and focused attention to a speaker, seeking to understand not only the words but also the underlying message and the non-verbal cues.
Elevating your teamwork skills as an aspiring entrepreneur involves honing the art of active listening. Active listening is a fundamental skill which can offer effective communication, trust and mutual understanding among team members. It entails not only hearing the words spoken by a speaker but also comprehending their deeper meaning, including the emotions and perspectives behind them (social cues). By actively engaging in conversations, asking clarifying questions, and empathetically considering the viewpoints of others, the listener showcases that they can truly respect, empathise and appreciate the speakers’ input. Besides strengthening the bonds between team members, active listening also ensures that everyone’s ideas and concerns are heard and appreciated, leading to better decision-making, and thus, driving the success of your ventures.
The 3 A’s of Active Listening: Attention, Acknowledgment and Adjustment
To acquire practical listening skills, you can refer to the guidance of the 3 A’s of Active Listening (Nichols,1957), which are:
Meaning to give your full and undivided attention to the speaker. It involves focusing on what the speaker is saying, avoiding distractions and making eye contact to signal your active participation and engagement.
Meaning to show the speaker that you are actively listening and understanding their message. This can be done through verbal and non-verbal cues (positive body language), such as nodding, smiling, or using affirming statements like “Hm, I see” or “I understand.”
Which involves adapting your response based on what you’ve heard. This includes asking follow-up questions to clarify points, offering relevant feedback or input, or making necessary changes in your behaviour or actions based on the information provided. Adjustment demonstrates that you are not only listening but also willing to take action or modify your approach based on the speaker’s input.