Learning Active Listening Skills


Active listening skills can improve all of your communications and relationships. The basics of active listening are easy to learn and can help you talk to your kids, your spouse, your family and your co-workers.

While classes, books and other resources are available, get started today with a few simple steps.


Learning Active Listening Skills

Active Listening Skills

1. Make eye contact.

Avoid staring, but clear and attentive eye contact allows the speaker to feel like he is being heard and that you are interested in what is being said. Maintain good posture and lean toward the person speaking.

These non verbal behaviors are all cues that you are using active listening skills. Listening responses, even just an occasional “and then what happened” can help her to know that you are interested in what is being said.


2. Paraphrase what has been said.

Rephrasing what the speaker has expressed allows her to confirm that you have understood and that she communicated well.

You should consider both the words said, or thoughts expressed and the feelings expressed when you repeat back what has been said. This active listening skill ensures that there is no miscommunication.


3. Clarify what has been said.

You can even say, “Is this what you were trying to say?”. Clarifying offers the opportunity for the listener to get more information and can even help the speaker better understand his own situation.

Do keep in mind that during these steps you are simply using good listening skills, but not offering advice or feedback. You may, while clarifying, want to ask what sort of feedback your partner, coworker or customer is looking for in order to help them work through the situation effectively.


4. Give feedback, if appropriate.

Some active listening situations do call for suggestions, answers and feedback in various forms. At other times, you may use your listening skills simply to provide an empathetic ear for a friend.

Keep his feelings in mind when providing feedback of any sort, as well as the overall emotional tone of the conversation.


5. Be empathetic.

Active listening is often most helpful in emotionally charged situations. Often, simply feeling heard will help to diffuse the conversation somewhat. Communications skills, including active listening, can help you learn to recognize how others are feeling and respond appropriately.

Listening skills can be helpful in all aspects of life, and are frequently taught in the workplace, by marriage counselors and in parenting classes. The same basic active listening plan will work regardless of the environment or who is speaking.


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