Active Listening is the skill of making a conscious effort to hear not only the WORDS that another person is saying but, more importantly, the COMPLETE MESSAGE being communicated.
You must pay attention to the other person very carefully.
6 Key Active Listening Skills:
- Pay Attention - give the speaker your undivided attention and acknowledge the message
- Defer Judgement - don't interrupt; allow the speaker to finish each point. Have an open mind
- Reflect - Think - don't assume.
- Clarify - ask questions to check understanding. If in doubt, ask.
- Summarise - go over key points and ask the speaker to do the same
- Share - as you gain understanding, introduce your ideas, feelings and suggestions
Key Tips to Improvement:
- Limit distractions
- Pay attention to what is being said, not what you want to say
- Be comfortable with silence
- Before you offer your ideas and solutions, ask the speaker for theirs
- Repeat the key points you heard and check whether they are accurate.
Aim to do 80% of the listening and 20% of the talking.