Active Listening Skills for Good Relationships

Dr. Purushothaman
October 1, 2013

Too often the focus on healthy relationship communication exists in what each person says. The idea that one-way messages are at the heart of good relationship communication is what destroys relationships. Active listening skills are a must-have technique to anyone interested in building good relationships. There are a variety of active listening skills you can use, but the ones I will be discussing today are questions, using body language, and summarizing.

The first active listening skill you can begin using right away in building good relationships is questioning. Asking questions by firing them away like an interrogator pounding his suspicious criminal is as effective as one-way communication. Questioning in active listening skills is more about the quality of the question. You are not an interrogator in your relationship so do not act like one.

If there is something you do not understand, then ask your partner to rephrase, restate, or repeat the statement. Active questioning skills are an effective technique when combined with body language because it will communicate an interest towards your partner.

I believe the most important aspect of active listening is good body language. Without effective use of your body language, no matter how good your questioning or other forms of active listening are, your intention to build a good relationship will fall through the floor.

Effective body language communicates an interest when combined with questioning. Face your partner and show the person you are there primary concern. Also make good eye contact. Screaming kids, noisy crowds, and football on the television are all distractions that will pull your eyes and focus away from what really matters.

The last of the three active listening skills I will discuss in this article is using summarizing. This technique is not known to many so chances are you do not use this skill. Even if you know of this technique, I aim to encourage you to pull it out of your communication bag of tricks to improve your relationships.

Summarizing involves rephrasing what the person has said in your own words. The secret here is "in your own words". There are around four summarizing techniques involving an emphasis on emotions, facts, and combinations of the two.

Summarizing plays a role in developing an understanding of what your partner is saying and develops a connection. It is a great technique to build intimacy in your relationship. I encourage you to even use summarizing in everyday social situations and conversations as it helps to build the connection.

The other person hears your summary of what he or she said and knows you understand or will then restate what you do misunderstand. He or she will also see you are interested because you are able to restate what was said. When combined with good body language, your interest is communicated the entire time during the conversation.

Active listening skills are an essential technique to develop if you want to build a good relationship. The listening skills are useful in more then just building intimate relationships as you can just as effectively apply them in social conversations.

In addition, combine effective questioning, good body language, and summarizing together and you will begin to use the power of active listening in your relationships. These 3 listening skills are a great start in mastering two-way communication to build great relationships.


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