Become a better listener!

Active Listening Skills

  • Reflect content of client's remarks
  • Identify, label and respond to the client's vaguely articulated feelings
  • Identify, label and respond to the client's unstated feelings
  • Respond to the client's clearly articulated feelings.

1. Attending, acknowledging1. Providing verbal or non-verbal awareness of the other, i.e., eye contact
2. Restating, paraphrasing2. Responding to person's basic verbal message
3. Reflecting3. Reflecting feelings, experiences, or content that has been heard or perceived through cues
4. Interpreting4. Offering a tentative interpretation about the other's feelings, desires, or meanings
5. Summarizing, synthesizing5. Bringing together in some way feelings and experiences; providing a focus
6. Probing6. Questioning in a supportive way that requests more information or that attempts to clear up confusions
7. Giving feedback7. Sharing perceptions of the other's ideas or feelings; disclosing relevant personal information
8. Supporting8. Showing warmth and caring in one's own individual way

9. Checking perceptions9. Finding out if interpretations and perceptions are valid and accurate

10. Being quiet10. Giving the other time to think as well as to talk

These skills, like those of self-expression, can be learned, practiced, and mastered. Our society places much more attention on the spoken side of the communication equation, but if you think about who influences you, are they good talkers or good listeners?

As we come to understand ourselves and our relationships with others better, we rediscover that "communication is not just saying words; it is creating true understanding." Active listening is an important skill in that process.

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