Close Search

The art of active listening: A conscious effort to hone yourself at a personal and professional level

The art of active listening: A conscious effort to hone yourself at a personal and professional level

In today’s impressionistic generation, one’s social image seems to be everything. For youngsters venturing into professional fields, it is important to stand out in terms of presentation and personality. Many people, however, make the mistake of not instilling a critical habit: listening.

As budding students who will soon pick up the baton in various fields of science, law, arts, and commerce, it is essential to incorporate the skill of active listening into our work and personal ethos. Genuine listening is a rare commodity and a wonderful gift since you are offering the person you are listening to your most valuable asset—your attention.

Based on the communication technique "active listening" developed by Carl Rogers and Richard Farson in 1957, here are a few pointers on how to do it correctly.

Listen, don't talk: 

 The ideal way of showing respect to the other speaker is to acknowledge his or her share of experiences and opinions instead of making the conversation about yourself. We often tend to deviate from the other person’s concerns by comparing them with ours. In his TEDx Speech, famous radio host Celeste Headlee puts it aptly: "'If they're talking about having lost a family member, don't start talking about the time you lost a family member. If they're talking about the trouble they're having at work, don't tell them how much you hate your job. It's not the same. It's never the same. All experiences are individual. And, more importantly, it's not about you. "

 Don't interrupt:

 Interrupting a conversation is considered a bad gesture and also a sign of impatience. It is important that you let the other person finish his or her share of words before you express your mind. This way, you ensure the other person’s speaking time is respected, and in turn, yours gets too!

Communicate with your body:

 A lot can be said just from the body language of a person. It is essential that you maintain eye contact to physically express your attention to the speaker. It reflects your intention to pay attention to their talk and shows your confidence. A simple head nod would do the trick in conversations where you want to express your empathy or agreement.


Pay attention to the details in what they're saying and remember them afterwards. This makes it easier to ask questions. For example, the speaker acknowledged spending a lot of time as a kid at his grandmother's house; how did he get along with her? It also shows that you were paying attention to the other individual.

Avoid giving free advice!

We all enjoy giving unsolicited advice, and few of us can deny it....but it may often backfire. In order to form deeper bonds, it's critical to make the other person feel at ease in your surroundings. Constant unsolicited advice stymies the process by making you prejudiced toward the other person's circumstance. Instead, return the conversation to the most exciting or positive part, which will allow him or her to explain further on the topics that interest him or her. This just encourages the person to share their true feelings, allowing you to connect with them on a deeper level than simple casual conversation.

Hopefully, these pointers will assist you in improving your interpersonal communication abilities and increasing your level of engagement.