The power of gratitude sets the foundation for positive curiosity and this leads us to listen more actively, but how can we develop active listening skills even further?
When we create a psychological space, it is easier to expose our vulnerabilities. People appreciate being thanked. It lightens their day and makes the acts of kindness they perform seem validated. Gratitude helps us to listen with more purpose.
The power of gratitude promotes active listening. When you are listening actively you are able to pick up the more detailed, personal nuances of the conversation and get to know the person on a deeper level. The better we get to know people, the easier it will be to create stronger bonds and build stronger relationships. This in turn will create more opportunities to express gratitude!
This doesn't stop at your personal relationships; in business relationships active listening helps us to add further opportunities for points of contact, follow-up emails, meetings and even positively curious phone calls. It helps us to build stronger teams where everyone feels included and able to turn to each other for a listening ear when needed.
As a listener there are certain steps we can take to facilitate an environment that will encourage the speaker to open up, expose their vulnerabilities and feel comfortable in doing so. Through the power of gratitude, we can support each other.
If we want to encourage a culture of active listening, as always, we need to start with ourselves. If we demonstrate active listening, show others what active listening actually looks like, it will encourage others to follow our example. When leaders demonstrate that they value input, it sets a great example for others to follow. It's the same with gratitude, people often need a template to follow to know how to express gratitude!
We need to make sure that we are in the right frame of mind to listen ourselves. If we are waiting for an important call or stressed ourselves, we are not in the right space to actively listen. It is important that we give the person who is pouring their heart out our full attention. So put your phone away, find somewhere quiet.
As I said earlier, positive curiosity, gratitude and active listening are all connected. So, asking the right questions is really important. Encourage them to keep speaking by using open ended, non-judgmental questions. Don't be afraid to also use questions to clarify what you are being told, always ask and don't try to read minds or put words into their mouths! These questions will also show the speaker that you are in fact paying attention.
It is also important to use nonverbal communication forms such as eye contact and posture. Keep your arms open and welcoming and leaning into the person speaking also lets them know that you are listening.
When we practice deep gratitude and active listening, we will find it easier to empathise with their situation, while we are seeking out acts of kindness to be grateful for, it will also make us more aware of our own vulnerabilities.
We can frame our active listening with gratitude. We can show appreciation for their honesty and openness. When we reach the end of the conversation, it's always good to summarise with more expressions of gratitude. It shows we've been listening and that we are grateful that they wanted to talk to us.
Gratitude has an important role to play in active listening. The power of gratitude helps us to create a space where everyone feels comfortable to talk about what's going on, whether that is on a professional or a more personal level. We also use gratitude to show that we have been paying attention. Forget about the small talk, empower conversations with active listening and make them grow through the power of gratitude!