Active Listening – a communication skill that requires the listener to comprehend, interpret and reflect on what they are hearing usually by para- or re-phrasing to the speaker to ensure comprehension
Listening is one thing – but hearing is a totally different skill. How often do you find yourself overtalking the person you’re having a conversation with? Or planning your response while their talking and often missing out on key facts and information?
One of my biggest pet peeves is when I’m talking to someone and they interrupt with what they “think” I’m trying to say or answering the question I’ve yet to ask because they believe they know what I’m going to say based on the first few words in my sentence.
Good communication is a two-way street. Being able effectively get your point across and being capable of listening and interpreting what is being said.
Today’s challenge was to spend more time listening to what others were saying and less time talking. How difficult was that for you? Often, it’s human nature to want to jump in with our opinions or own experiences.
Image from HREA.ORG
Active listeners often:
~ face their speaker directly and give their undivided attention (I’m bad at this – especially at work when I’m interrupted while doing something else)
~ Minimize internal and external distractions
~ Keep an open mind and don’t assume they know what the speaker is going to say
~ Focus on what they speaker is saying and not plan how they are going to respond while they are supposed to be listening
~ Refrain from turning the conversation back to them or their experiences by sharing similar experiences or how they would react in a situation (unless specifically asked for their opinions/reactions)
~ Hear the speaker out and respond accordingly – even if it feels as though they are being personally attacked – often by listening and asking specific, pertinent questions you can diffuse many situations.
Which active listening technique do you need to work on the most? How do you feel when the person you are speaking to is NOT a good active listener?