What is active listening? Active listening is a person’s ability and willingness to listen and understand. Often we people talk to each other. We might not listen at a time because lack of attentiveness, which can distract the speaker. In way active listening can be called as responding to another person that develops mutual understanding. Active listening is process in which the listener paraphrases in its own words what the speaker had said to confirm or clarify of accuracy of the message. Active listening involves listening with your head and your heart; that is, you listen to the content of the message but also the feelings behind the message. The skill of active listening involves paying attention with empathy to the listener, as opposed to distracted denying, cynical or ostrich behavior. New session leaders of alcoholics anonymous meetings are advised to’…. Take cotton form your ears and put it in your mouth’. (Hogan, 2000) Listening can wrongly be viewed as a passive activity; the speaker talks and the listener listen’s. The listener is silent and passive and the speaker is active and verbal.
When the speaker finishes its talking, the assumption is that the message has been accurately received by the listener, with no observation participation or effort active listening statement. “The most basic of all human needs is the need to be understood”. (Fujishin,1997) Listening does not mean just have sit with the mouth shut stirring at the person. A dead body can do that. It is an active process which requires participation to understand fully the meaning of a communication. Listening actively involves clarifying, paraphrasing, giving feedback. Paraphrasing: state in your own word what the speaker had said in the talk.
It is sign of good listening. It keeps the listener busy trying to understand and know that other person means rather than blocking. Clarifying: it goes along with paraphrasing. It means asking questions until the listener get the correct picture. In order to understand fully what the speaker said. Clarifying assist the listeners to sharpen its listening focus so that the listener hears more than vague generalities. Giving Feedback: feedback is what active listening depends on. After paraphrasing and clarifying the listener gives an example what had been said and hopefully understands it.
This is the point at which the listener can talk about reaction. In freely way the listener share its thought, felt or sensed. Active listening is really one of the mostly physical and mentally challenging aspects of facilitation. Listening sometime does not come easy for some people not because they are not willing to listen but because they are not able to do so. Actually their mind does not come up with the total picture because some people see the world in one dimension. This inability to listen using both side of the brain can cause misinterpretation, miscommunication and miscalculation.
As a result the listener with in ability could not be able to deal with logic of a relationship and also with the emotional component. Therefore this unbalanced use of brain often results in the inability of the listener understand all the essential signs form the person speaking. Therefore active listening require usage both side of brain. Unfortunately there are few people who are able to understand this fact who instead see this skill in one reflecting use of the both side of brain. Taking holistic approach toward listening requires special discipline or rules on the part of the listener.
The basis reason is that many listeners tend to fall into their own comfort zones by in taking what they want to hear and skipping rest of the important data and facts. As a result hearing selectively can lead to incorrect conclusion of data and information. Listening is like art were there are opportunities for huge errors. “This information is taken from the Source: Kliem (2007) “Effective Communications for Project Management” CRC Press Feature of active listening Active listening motivates the person to listen carefully which eventually motivates the speaker to talk effectively.
Active listening helps the speakers to identify that whether the listener is taking afford to understand thing with any distraction and helps the listener to clear their doubt and revert back the message to the speaker in order to give idea that he as understood. The distraction is big treat while listening and speaking, were the listener forgets the point or get miss leaded about speaker’s talk or message, were as speaker also gets frustrated and won’t put his best effort. The active listener use both side of brain. They see the skill as one reflecting the use of the right or left side of the brain.
The left side of the brain highlights facts, organizational, logical reasoning and thinking and discipline and accuracy in thought. It is extremely goal and analysis oriented. Active listening exclusively from this viewpoint can result in ignoring the important emotional message of the speaker: for example the importance on calculating metric is left brain activity. Focusing on scheduling and cost performances index as a measure of success is a prime example of left brain thinking. The right side of the brain highlights emotional and sensory view. Imaging and imagining are two quiet actions of this side of the brain.
The importance is on nonverbal communication and impulsive behavior. Active listening from this view point can result in ignoring or skipping the important data and fact and being influenced by the speaker. Most common example of active listening is boards meeting of the company were each directors or shareholders as listener listen actively because every decision raised in the company is important and should be planned in order to achieve objective and goals. BARRIERS OF ACTIVE LISTENING “Man inability to communicate is a result of his failure to listen effectively, skillfully and with understanding to other human beings”. Carl roger,1850) The biggest barrier of the active listening is the unconscious nature of the process. When we listen to take in information from all of our sense continuously and for which automatic we give a meaning to what we take in. Responding without thinking for the first is easy, as there are some people who use very little of their full listening capacity because they do not intentionally put their full energy into it. However there are barriers to listening beside the environmental barriers. Some of the common see barriers are: Negative and positive trigger: there are certain words, sound, phrases; gesture that can draw out an emotional response from the person. A positive trigger is phrases or word that produces a good feeling for the listener and negative trigger is a phrase or word that produces feeling such as anger. The trigger causes when a person reacts before for thinking. The listener just by hearing few words has a preprogrammed understanding and response because the trigger cuts off the information gathering actions of the senses and can show the way to greatly mistaken estimation.
This trigger interferes with the listeners listening because the listeners immediately change their attention to the emotions that they are experiencing. Any effective listener can identify their own trigger in order to gain their conscious control of their action and listen more effectively. ?Difference in word definition: No two people have same meaning for the words or phrase. These differences in meaning can lead to misinterpreting and misunderstanding. A responsible person first check with the speaker and helps groups builds up harmony on the definition of important words and phrases. Personal issues: every person has important personal issues beside the work life. Sometimes these issues want a huge attention and take a lot of energy which make the person tough to actively listen at some moment. A Responsible person first observes the effect of the personal issues and then takes time to deal with them. When it is time to listen, they intentionally remind themselves to use active listening process. For example a manager who is going through break up found it difficult to listen during board meeting.
But his boss was supportive and understanding; however at that moment the manager should put his personal matters at a side and meet his obligations of the organization. ?Poor physical surroundings: poor physical surrounding involves Noisy, distracting or uncomfortable places and situation make it hard to listen and also make it difficult to focus on what the speaker is explaining. ?Tiredness: it becomes difficult to listen actively when a person is tried. Active listening requires active or alert mind and energetic body to considerate.
A student in order to be active listener should get good night sleep before attending the early morning lecture so that the student considerate without any tiredness. ?Filter: Your beliefs, values, assumption, expectation, past experiences and interest all these things interfere with active listening. There are subtle and thus are hard to detect. For instant, think as if your enemy sitting beside you, eventually you will be thinking some else rather that listening to the speaker. Importance’s of active listening Active listening is an important skill that can bring changes in people.
Changes as such in attitude toward themselves and others and also bring changes in your vital value and physical philosophy. People who contain active listening skill are more emotionally mature, less defensive, have more experiences, more independent and less demanding. The people who listen sensitively tend to listen themselves with more care so they are make clear about what they are thinking and feeling. Some of common Importance of active listening is: ? It helps you to focus on one task without any distraction and enable you to get clear picture of what speaker try to explain. It helps you to develop your interest in listening and keep you active and alert. ?It keeps you way from misinterpretation and misunderstanding of idea of other person because understanding other person is very difficult. ?It helps to develops trust between listener and speaker. It isn’t very often an individual is given the opportunity to share what’s really on his mind or deep in his heart without be attacked and rescued. This is one of the most important rewards of actively listening for understanding where the speaker trusts you. Conclusion Listening well is an essential component of every successful person.
Active listening takes a lot of energy and very irritating to mirror every statement during conversation. At some extend, it can drive person crazy. A person should keep active listening for those occasions when the person require clarifying the speaker’s message, the speaker want to feel understanding of listeners. Active listening just encourages a person to set aside the trouble of self talk, in order to get mixed up with what the others are relating and to experience totally what they feeling. You will be shocked to discover that when you focus on your speaker rather than yourself, it become far easier for you to think of things to say.
As said by Fritz Perls “the pictures of the world do not enter us automatically, but selectively. We don’t see, we look for, search, scan for something. We don’t hear all the sounds of the world, we listen”. References 1. Hoppe(2007) “Active Listening: Improve Your Ability to Listen and Lead” London Publisher: Center for Creative Leadership 2. Ivey , Bradford Ivey & Zalaquett (2009) “Intentional Interviewing and Counseling: Facilitating Client Development in a Multicultural Society” Publisher: Cengage Learning 3.
Jones (2008) “Introduction to Counselling Skills: Text and Activities” Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd. 4. Moyet(2005) “Understanding the nursing process: concept mapping and care planning for students” Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 5. Weaver & Farrell (1997) “Managers as facilitators: a practical guide to getting work done in a changing workplace” Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers 6. Fujishin(2007) “Creating effective groups: the art of small group communication” Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield 7. Kliem(2007) “Effective Communications for Project Management” Publisher: CRC Press 8.
McKay, Davis & Fanning (2009) “Messages: The Communication Skills Book” Publisher: New Harbinger Publications 9. Spencer & Pruss (1997) “The professional secretary’s handbook” Publisher: Barron’s Educational Series 10. Farrell & Weaver (2000) “The Practical Guide to Facilitation: A Self-Study Resource” Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers 11. Garner(1997) “Conversationally speaking: tested new ways to increase your personal and social effectiveness” Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional 12. http://www. gordontraining. com/artman2/uploads/1/ActiveListening_RogersFarson. pdf (accessed 6 august 2009)