It came to my attention yesterday in a client meeting that not everybody has heard of active listening. Because in my business it is practically as basic as the alphabet, I forget that it isn’t common knowledge. So this blog post is for those of you who didn’t get the memo.
What is Active Listening: A way of listening that leaves the speaker feeling heard to his/her satisfaction.
- Paying attention to nonverbal cues, such as tone of voice or emotion
- Suspending judgment or personal beliefs and opinions
- Using engaged gestures or occasional casual phrases (I see, mmm, right, uh-huh)
- Maintaining eye contact
- Waiting until l the person appears to be finished before responding (don’t jump in just because they pause for breath, or to think).
- Asking clarifying questions to explore meaning and expand understanding
- Can you expand on that?
- What happened exactly?
- Paraphrasing what the person has said to acknowledge and conform what you have heard
- So what I think you said was…
- It sounds like…
- Verifying observations or intuition to ascertain underlying context
- Seems like…
- I sense there might be more…
- Sharing your own related experience – if invited – and then briefly, to demonstrate grasp of point of view or experience.
Practice with your significant other tonight!