Many times, we underestimate the power of listening and the ability to make someone feel heard. As an active College Admissions Recruiter, I have advocated on behalf of my clients when it came to communicating with their parents/guardians on major decisions and solidifying opportunities. My student-clients would tell me, ” I feel like I can only tell you how stressed I am in this college application process, my parents don’t understand”. Often times, I ask my student if they communicated their entire message and was it the time and place to have an important discussion. Most importantly, I ask if they felt heard by their parents.
Majority of the time, parents are just as eager and excited as students are on what their college of choice will be or how they plan to spend their gap year. What is missing is how to actively listen.
In other words, listen to understand and not just to respond.
During my sessions with students, I ask to speak to both parties and if I can’t, the power of one can multiply into two.
I talk to my students about healthy communication and letting their needs be understood, without resulting in endless arguments.
While I could go on forever about the value of active listening, here is my key take away I want for all of you:
1. Listen with focus
2. Understand (If you do not, ask targeted questions to gain clarity)
3. Reiterate what you believe is being said
4. Respond accordingly
5. Remember the purpose of the conversation