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How to become an active listener?

The importance of being an active listener has always been emphasized, but how does one become a good listener? and still give good responses and show understanding at the same time? #communications #communication #listening

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Dwight’s Answer

there are five critical elements to effective listening:

  1. Hearing.....the sound from the words spoken actually reaches your ears....

  2. Paying attention; avoiding competing distractions like other conversations, television, social media and focusing completely on what's being said to you.

  3. Understanding; having an accurate interpretation of what the speaker was saying to you.

  4. Responding; showing in your reaction that you're listening.....head nods, touch, sounds of affirmation (uh huh.....hmmmm...yes.....)

  5. Remembering; this is the really critical one; being able to accurately paraphrase back to the speaker all the things that they've said to you without missing anything. You should NOT, at this point, add your comments, ideas, interpretations, or suggestions. Your only job is to make sure that you got the message right. So, for example, if a friend says "Wow, I'm so angry that my paycheck is so small this month," an effective listener would say, "so, you're feeling angry about your paycheck being small. Tell me more about that." Avoid the common practice of sharing your opinion until the other person has finished and invited you to add your own ideas. That means letting them talk for as long as they choose, even if it takes a while. Don't worry, you'll probably get a turn as well, but don't interrupt or jump in prematurely. Focus completely on the needs of the other person; that's what will make you an effective listener.

Thank you comment icon Thanks for the breakdowns! I was able to write down each point and it'll be easy to remember when I look back on it. The one part where I'm struggling on is the 'remembering' part where I should respond back by paraphrasing what they side, because often times I'll move on to talk about something else instead of letting the other person talk more or explain their reasoning. These were all helpful tips, thank you so much! Anudari
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Archana’s Answer

Listening is one of the most important skills you can have. How well you listen has a major impact on your effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others.

  1. Pay Attention
    Give the speaker your undivided attention, and acknowledge the message. Recognize that non-verbal communication also "speaks" loudly.
    • Look at the speaker directly.
    • Put aside distracting thoughts.
    • Don't mentally prepare a rebuttal!
    • Avoid being distracted by environmental factors. For example, side conversations.
    • "Listen" to the speaker's body language.

  2. Show That You're Listening
    Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention.
    • Nod occasionally.
    • Smile and use other facial expressions.
    • Note your posture and make sure it is open and inviting.
    • Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and uh huh.

  3. Provide Feedback
    Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect what is being said and ask questions.
    • Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. "What I'm hearing is," and "Sounds like you are saying," are great ways to reflect back.
    • Ask questions to clarify certain points. "What do you mean when you say." "Is this what you mean?"
    • Summarize the speaker's comments periodically.

  4. Defer Judgment
    Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message.
    • Allow the speaker to finish each point before asking questions.
    • Don't interrupt with counter arguments.

  5. Respond Appropriately
    Active listening is a model for respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting him or her down.
    • Be candid, open, and honest in your response.
    • Assert your opinions respectfully.
    • Treat the other person in a way that you think he or she would want to be treated.

Thank you comment icon Wow! Thank you so much for breaking down each point and expanding on it. I was really amazed at the depth you went into that I decided to print the whole thing! Thank you so much for responding to my question :) Anudari
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Phillip’s Answer

Glad you care about this , #1 listening is about the other person ( unless its a courtroom drama )
if you are truly focused on listening then you are not looking in your own mind for responses
I was in a type of training where you spent a whole weekend in a small group that was working on emotional
issues one of .the rules for me was NO talking , I also could not tell any one in the group that I was not allowed to talk .
I think only one person out of 5 even noticed that I had not spoke !
listening takes practice , don't expect that you will understand someones problems just connect with them
and pay attention.

hope that helps

Thank you comment icon Thank you for your response! I'm really hoping to become a better listener, and hopefully with more practise and patience I'll be able to do it. Thanks again! Anudari
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Aditya’s Answer

In order to become a good and effective listener, one should give time to the other person, understand his/her point of view, show compassion and empathy and interest. pay attention to what the other person is speaking without interfering in between and also show positive body language