Topic 7 Active Listening

The ‘listening’ component of communication should not be overlooked – over 60% of all misunderstandings result from poor listening.

Active listening involves paying close attention to what a person is saying, making clarifying questions and rephrasing what is being said to ensure understanding. Active listening facilitates understanding and responding accurately. There are some techniques involved in active listening which make the person appear thoughtful, analytical, and desirable.

Active listening techniques and examples Active listening techniques Examples
To build trust
“Tell me what I can do to help”
To establish rapport
“I was really impressed to read on...”
To show concern
“I would like to help you; I know you are going through a difficult period”
To paraphrase
“So, you are saying that…”
To give brief verbal affirmations
“Thank you for your time. I really enjoy speaking with you”
To ask open-ended questions
“What part of the presentation did you find confusing?”
To ask specific questions
“How much time did you devote to…”
To not interrupt when disclosing your opinion
“Can you please provide more…”
To disclose similar situations
“I was very upset about…”
To use non-verbal cues
Nodding, eye-contact, leaning forward

The listening process is important as you obtain information and insight about the needs, demands, and preferences of your students, colleagues, pupils, parents etc. Attentive listening means making eye-contact, having a lean-forward posture, making friendly facial expressions and gestures, as well as showing a genuine interest in what the speaker is saying. Reflective listening involves repeating and paraphrasing what has been heard, showing the speaker that you understand what has been said.

Good listener vs. Bad listener
Making an effort to understand no matter how unclear the message
Responding with a statement that does not answer the question asked
Interpreting non-verbal cues
Talking too much without maintaining balance
Informing others that they have been heard and encouraging them to continue sharing
Monopolizing the conversation
Listening before responding
Talking before the other person finishes
Not interrupting
Taking a few moments before forming a response
Not giving the others the opportunity to share