One of the first things that we are taught in “counselling school” is to be better listeners. Powerful listening skills have the ability to transform your life and the best part?
They are not too hard to learn!
These are skills that I firmly believe should be taught to everyone at every stage of life.
After all, our relationships are built upon our ability to communicate. We need to be able to effectively communicate our needs, wants, desires, and challenges in order to get what we want.
So what are these magical powerful listening skills that promise to transform your life?
Let’s dive in!
Powerful listening skills
Mirroring is a subtle listening skill and it is exactly what it sounds like. Imagine the person that you are speaking with is leaning in. What do you do? Lean in too! Imagine they have their hands clasped together and legs crossed. What do you do? You guessed it!
Mirroring gives subconscious signals that you are on the same wavelength. You are doing the same thing. It can be a way to show that you are aligned. It is also a great tool for job interviews.
Paraphrasing (with empathy!)
Similar to writing an essay or paper for school, paraphrasing is all about listening to what’s being said and reflecting it back to the person in your own words. For example, suppose the person said to you, “I had a cheeseburger last night for dinner and felt so sick that I couldn’t go to work today”
Paraphrasing this might sound something like, “Oh no, I’m sorry to hear that you felt so sick after dinner that you couldn’t come to work. I hope you feel better soon!”
Paraphrasing can be really powerful in letting people know that they are being truly heard and that you understand what they have said.
If you want to take your listening skills to the NEXT level, being able to pick up on and reflect back emotions is a key advanced skill to master.
Let’s see it in action. Suppose someone is saying to you, “my friend went to the movies without me.”
You might notice their body language in order to pick up on their emotion, and you might notice their voice. Look out for emotions that you are picking up on – are they upset this situation? are they happy about it?
You could say something like, “that must have been upsetting?” or if you aren’t sure, paraphrase their sentence to let them know that you are listening.
Being able to reflect emotion is an advanced skill because it requires tapping into our own abilities to “read” another person.
It comes with practice and you can ALWAYS use mirroring and paraphrasing to get closer to the emotion.
Now that you are equipped and armed with three powerful listening skills, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
Practice with everyone that you speak with and see how your communication and relationships are transformed.
Here is a neat infographic that also looks like a smiley face to recap what we have just covered! Save it for yourself or send it to a friend!
About the writer
Fouz Fatima is a Counsellor based in Sydney. Reach out to book a counselling session or continue reading.