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Effective Communications: Active Listening

Updated on April 8, 2017

Active Listening

Patience is a virtue and when it comes to effective communication being patient can pay big dividends. Communication is not a one way street with the conversation flowing only one way. It is a back and forth reality that involves listening and paying attention to the other as it does talking and saying what is on your mind.

When we are engaged in a conversation with someone else, all too often we sit politely or now and then not so politely waiting for our turn to say what is running through our minds. In other words, while the other person is talking we are busy rehearsing our own speech rather than paying close attention to what the person is saying.

The fact that we can parrot or repeat back what they said, often word for word is how we satisfy ourselves that , of course, I am listening, when what your really need to be able to do is paraphrase. When you reword, and retain the meaning, you show the person or persons, with whom you are speaking, that you not only heard the words they were using but understood the meaning conveyed by those words.

Active listening requires:

1- Make eye contact, you must look the other person in the eye, not constantly but regularly.

2- Sit or stand straight.

3- Pay attention also known as being in the moment. Hear what they are saying and stop going over your lines. Communication is not a movie but real life. Be sincere.

4- Pay attention to your audience’s body language. This is a tool for gauging how your words are affecting them. Are your audience’s eyes, for example, fixed upon you are are they looking around the room. Are they whispering to each other or looking at their watches. Pick up on the clues and adjust.

If you want to be respected then you must show respect. If you follow the above process when engaged in a conversation, you will have taken a major step towards showing and gaining respect. Now you have a strong foundation, mutual respect, upon which to build a personal or professional relationship.

Listening is an active experience, make eye contact, nod your head now an then to indicate you are following the speaker. Hold your questions until it is time to ask them. Do not let your desire to ask a question interrupt your concentration, you will get your turn to speak.


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  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks, and thanks for dropping by.

  • Granny's House profile image

    Granny's House 6 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

    LOL. My daughters and I always talk at the same time. We always have. Others do not understand how we do it and know what each other is saying. It also does not work out well with others. LOL

    Great hub. Well written


  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks, politeness does appear to be vanishing, thanks for visiting.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

    You are so right,Bob.All these manners are nearly forgotten. Brilliant hub.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    Bri36, knowing how to control the voice within is enabling. Thanks, it can be difficult to actually hear what the other is saying. SQ42

  • profile image

    SusieQ42 6 years ago

    Great hub! I learned this in a communication class in college. Active listening is hard to do!

  • profile image

    bri36 6 years ago

    you write in a way that helps me to see how I can transfer these skills into my as yet still young writing skills. This cool stuff here Bob, Thank you

    some times that little birdie that talks to you inside makes the right choice and the experience of Wisdom is shared