Communication Skills: Active Listening

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What is meant by active listening? It is the act of being fully aware and concentrating on what is being said. It is engaging your conversation partner or group in a positive manner. Active listening can be verbal or non-verbal.

The goal of active listening is to gain information and make a conscious effort to comprehend what someone else is saying. This way you are able to respond and look at things from a different view instead of judging.

Here’s an example of active listening.

How active listening affects the communication process

As a communication skill, active listening is an important part of the process. Paying attention demonstrates to the speaker that they are being heard and enhances your ability to absorb and relate information. Thus, one is able to become more engaging in a conversation because the information you would have consumed is used to formulate your ideas and consequent response. Active listening prevents you from missing vital information, identifying problems, resolving conflicts and gaining more knowledge. These are important aspects of the communication process and if not applied can ruin how the message is interpreted.

Below I share with you 3 characteristics of active listening

Reflection

This refers to hearing, understanding and analysing and thereafter sharing what was heard and understood. It requires absolute focus on the speaker. Avoid offering advice and making judgements and try to understand the message.

The reasons for reflection are to allow the speaker to hear what they are saying and for the listener to demonstrate to the speaker that their opinion is understood. Additionally, it encourages the speaker to focus on their message and emotions. See the video below for an example of reflective listening.

Self-Awareness

Concentration is essential for effective listening to take place. It allows you to dedicate your attention and therefore become more effective when listening.

Listening is an art that begins with the ability to listen to oneself. It is one of the most important skills that many people aren’t able to master. When a person is self-aware and possesses the ability to listen without misinterpreting and judging. Learning how to listen carefully and observing verbal and non-verbal cues, allows for appropriate feedback.

Paying Attention

I love to pay attention. Especially if the conversation is intellectually stimulating. One usually hear what others don’t hear. I am not blowing my trumpet. I pay attention to details and filter what I believe doesn’t matter.

Being attentive helps you to recall more details than usual. It is how you learn to filter data that is distracting in order to focus on the specific.

Active listening can be developed with practice. It requires time and patience, so it will not just happen. It is not only a thorough focus but involves verbal and non-verbal signs.

One should never attempt to interrupt with questions and comments, but allow the speaker to explore their thoughts and feelings. These can be understood as barriers to communication and should be avoided. Otherwise, the message can be distorted and misunderstood.

Listening Quotes

Published by Odee Bah

Hello Everyone, Welcome to my Blog. I'm all about self-improvement - self-improvement that involves daily and consistent actions, and the right mental attitude and behaviour in an effort to accomplish your goals; strengthening your confidence and self-esteem. Discover yourself as you become more mindful, present and peaceful in your life. I choose to share my writing with you and I hope you enjoy it and become inspired and aspire to your greatest heights.

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