Listening is one of the most powerful strategies in your creativity toolbox. And when “active” is put in front of listening, it’s enhanced to the level of superpower. It’s amazing how empowered you become from the understanding active listening gives. The difference between active and just listening, or hearing is that active listening is about being engaged. It’s not passive.
I’ve always known active listening to be helpful, but a recent download from The Great Courses website on Negotiation helped me to understand the full extent of it. The course is called, The Art of Negotiating the Best Deal by Professor Seth Freeman J.D. From the beginning, he discusses the amount of leverage you gain from listening to someone else. It helps you find innovative ways to find solutions to seemingly solutionless problems. And that’s part of what creativity is about.
By using active listening tactics, you are better able to see what another person really wants instead of coming to preconceived notions of what should happen.
Here are some pointers for active listening:
- Lean in and give visual cues that you are engaged. Make eye contact.
- Let the other person talk. When you begin speaking, other people stop.
- Ask questions to help you understand more in depth. Something like, Can you explain what you mean by that? can help.
- Be relaxed and open to new opinions. It’s easier to find out what another person is thinking if you are open to them.