Posted by: csdivakar | September 30, 2007

Active Listening…

Listening is most important in today’s world. Listening playes a major vital role in both professional and personal life.

Active Listening is a person’s willingness and ability to hear and understand.The quality of conversation can be improved when one person is engaged in active listening. Leaders who practice active listening are able to draw out more information and meaningful information.

Active Listening involves Six Skills:

                                                                    Active Listening

PAY ATTENTION: A primary goal of active listening is to set a comfortable tone and allow time and opportunity for the other person to think and speak. By paying attention to your behavior and that of the other person, you create the setting for productive dialogue.

HOLD ADJUSTMENT:Active listening requires an open mind. As a listener and a leader, you need to be open to new ideas, new perspectives, and new possibilities. Holding judgment is particularly important when tensions run high. Let the other side vent or blow off steam if needed. Don’t jump immediately to problem solving or offering advice. Again, be comfortable not talking. Our main job is to listen and pay attention. This does not mean that you agree; it shows that you are trying to understand.

REFLECT : Like a mirror, reflect information and emotions without agreeing or disagreeing. Use paraphrasing—a brief, periodic recap of the other person’s key points—to confirm your understanding. Reflecting the other person’s information, perspective, and feelings is a way to indicate that you hear and understand. Don’t assume that you understand correctly or that the other person knows you’ve heard. The ability to reflect his or her content as well as feelings creates strong rapport and deepens the exploration.

CLARIFY : Double-check on any issue that is ambiguous or unclear. Open-ended, clarifying, and probing questions are important tools.

SUMMARIZE : Summarizing helps people see their key themes, and it confirms and solidifies your grasp of their points of view. Again, the summary does not necessarily imply agreement or disagreement by you, but merely allows you to close the loop. It may lead to additional questions as a transition to problem solving. It also helps both parties to be clear on mutual responsibilities and follow-up.

SHARE : Being an active listener doesn’t mean being a sponge, passively soaking up the information coming your way. You are an active party to the conversation with your own thoughts and feelings. Yet active listening is first about understanding the other person, then about being understood. That’s hard for anyone to learn and apply. It may be especially hard for people in leadership roles, who may have been led to believe that they need to be understood first so that others can follow them.

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