Experts Corner: Give the Gift of Active Listening

Two girls chattingHave you ever heard the term Active Listening? I does not mean concentrating on a song or listening to a teacher. It is a gift you give to someone to tell them they have your full attention and are listening only to them.

What is Active Listening? Active Listening is a specific skill of communication. It is more than simply hearing what the speaker is saying. It requires hearing at a deeper level, understanding and appreciating the experience the speaker is having and then mirroring the speaker back using words that show you understand what they are expressing. It involves giving messages that are nonjudgemental, accepting and respectful. It can build trust and allow the speaker to fully express their needs in a safe environment.

Once the speaker feels trusted and validated, then he/she may feel more comfortable to share stories and safely release stored emotions. While mirroring back their feelings, you are allowing to speaker to vent and express feelings that might have stayed bottled up and therefore, not emotionally healthy.

Acceptance is at the heart and soul of Active Listening. Acceptance of what they are saying does not necessarily mean that you agree with what you are hearing, but rather, it expresses a nonjudgemental attitude. It allows the speaker to feel more relaxed to speak with you.

So in the hustle and bustle of life in Myrtle Beach, the next time your friend, child, parent, spouse or co-worker starts to vent something to you, try to Active Listen rather than solving the issue for them. It doesn’t mean that you cannot offer suggestions – it means that you should give them the opportunity to fully express and identify the issue first.

Thanks to Diane Wagenhals,  a fabulous teacher whom I once had the privilege of knowing.

Thanks to 123rf.com for the picture.

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2012-08-03T12:03:23+00:00 July 29th, 2012|