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Use Active Listening to Boost Your Productivity

This article explores the true definition of active listening and how it can boost your productivity. To define active listening, we should first understand its opposite:




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“Active Listening” has become a bit of a buzz phrase as of late – it’s something every workplace blog says that you should focus on, even if they never tell you why. One overlooked benefit of active listening practices is productivity – becoming an active listener makes nearly every part of your work, social, and home life more productive.

This article explores the true definition of active listening and how it can boost your productivity.

1. What is Active Listening?

To define active listening, we should first understand its opposite: Passive listening. Most people are, by default, passive listeners. But that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.

Passive listening involves listening to someone without reacting, acknowledging, or giving full attention. It’s the listening most of us are accustomed to giving and receiving, even though it isn’t what we all necessarily enjoy.

On the other hand, active listening is a form of listening where the person is engaged in listening, reacting, and acknowledging. It also involves asking clarifying and probing questions to arrive at a deeper understanding. Full attention is being paid to the person speaking, and the listener is forming thoughts and reactions in their head as they listen along.

This type of listening is what people desire, need, and appreciate. This type of listening is what Maryland Attorney Alex Brown says helps him connect with his clients on a deep level: “I take the time to hear everything they are saying, and I ask probing questions to truly understand not only their problems but also their proposed solutions and the plans they are trying to achieve.”

This is an excellent example of active listening in the real world: Brown doesn’t do anything magical. He gives his full attention to clients, asks clarifying questions, and works to understand people truly.

To put it simply: the more active you are as a listener, the more you can empathize, help, and connect with the person you’re listening to.

2. 4 Benefits of Active Listening

a. It Makes People Feel Valued

It’s comfortable to tell when someone isn’t listening to you. When people see you are actively listening to them, they feel as though they are essential to you, and their words have real meaning. It’s a powerful thing that can make a big difference in every conversation you’re a part of.

b. It Helps You Intuit Solutions

When listening to someone intently, you get a more profound sense of the problems they are facing. This makes it easier to intuitively find solutions tailored to the person and circumstance. Passive listeners cannot reach those depths and are forced to give cookie-cutter answers.

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c. It Builds Trust Instantly

When you’re an active listener, people are much more likely to trust you, no matter the situation. If you’re helping a friend through a problem, it’s easier for them to trust you with a presented solution. If you’re trying to sell a product, it’s easier for the prospect to trust that you have their best interests in mind when they know you understand them. The list goes on.

d. It Helps You Avoid Misunderstandings

Misunderstandings can easily get blown way out of proportion, but they all start with one tiny mistake: a failure to listen. Part of listening means asking clarifying questions to avoid miscommunications. If you become an active listener, you will notice the friction in your conversations drop considerably.

3. How Does Active Listening Improve Productivity?

Active listening makes you a more productive person in all areas of your life. This is true not because of what it adds to your abilities but rather what it keeps off your plate.

You’ll avoid miscommunications and misunderstandings because you took the time to understand everything said entirely. When it comes time to present ideas and solutions, your offerings will be much more on track than if you had listened passively, saving you time and frustration. And, you’ll strengthen all the relationships around you, whether in business, social, or family life.

Becoming an active listener takes lots of work, patience, and practice, but the payoff is exponential.

Think about it: how many people in your life do you only speak to once and never again? That’s right, very few. Being an active listener boosts the conversation you have with a person today, making every following conversation that much better.

Take some time to consider how you can become a better active listener today – you won’t regret it, and your coworkers, clients, friends, and family will feel the benefits.

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How to Succeed As a Freelance Creative Writer

Freelance writers have lots of options to choose from based on their skills and level of experience. For instance, experienced creative writers can take up jobs as ghostwriters for other authors.




How to Succeed As a Freelance Creative Writer

If you are good at crafting fictional and nonfictional stories, then you might as well turn your passion into a lucrative hobby. Apart from enjoying a flexible work schedule, working as a freelance writer pays well. Experienced freelancers could even earn around $54 an hour, according to Payscale. Aside from that, you also get exposure across a wide array of industries where there is high demand for your services.

However, with the amount of competition you will face in the gig economy, standing out and making your talent known to potential clients would be your main hurdles. However, you just need to learn the right approaches that will take you to the top.

1. Don’t stop reading

You can’t become a better writer if you lack the time and opportunity to read. Don’t limit yourself to a single genre or format. Broaden your experience by reading a diverse range of articles and books. Through constant reading, you also develop a unique voice and writing style. You also get to learn how to write for specific age groups or industries.

2. Know the kind of writer you want to be

Apart from reading, you also need to find time to know which niche to enter. Freelance writers have lots of options to choose from based on their skills and level of experience. For instance, experienced creative writers can take up jobs as ghostwriters for other authors.

If you have a background in marketing and advertising, consider looking for a job as a copywriter or content writer. Regardless of your choice, make sure to pick a niche where you are comfortable. From there, you can choose to expand into other fields as you gain more experience.

3. Learn the ropes through the experts

As a freelance writer, you should always look for ways to develop your craft. Consider getting a mentor who can help critique your work and offer valuable advice for enhancing your technical and creative skills. You should also sign up for online workshops and courses where you can learn strategies and tips for developing great stories. Whether you are developing the sage archetype or writing thought-provoking essays, you can learn these topics from the right experts.

4. Know how to build networks and promote yourself

If you want to make it through as a professional creative writer, you need to invest in professional networks. Your success will also depend on how well you promote yourself and your skills, so consider investing time and resources in building your brand and marketing your services on social media and through a professional website.

Apart from that, you should also consider joining clubs, organizations, and events where you can connect with other aspiring writers. There is always a group that aligns with your genre or niche, so explore Facebook and LinkedIn and find one where you can hone your skills and grow your network.

It takes more than great language skills to stand out as a freelance writer. Consider these tips and start giving your talent the attention it deserves.

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