Hearing vs. Listening

You’re probably familiar with the term “active listening,” but what is it exactly? Are you an active listener? Many of us hear thousands of words a day, but more often than not, we are simply hearing the words and not listening to the meaning.

Active listening is a process in which an individual makes a conscious decision to listen and to under the message of the speaker.

Here are some steps to help you become an active listener: 

  1. Face the speaker and maintain eye contact.
  2. Be active, but relaxed.
  3. Keep and open mind.
  4. Listen to the words and try to picture what the speaker is saying.
  5. Don’t interrupt and don’t impose your “solutions.”
  6. Wait for the speaker to pause to ask clarifying questions.
  7. Ask questions only to ensure understanding.
  8. Try to feel what the speaker is feeling.
  9. Give the speaker regular feedback.
  10. Pay attention to what isn’t said – to nonverbal cues.

Active listening is a skill often used to help resolve conflicts and is a valuable skill that can be used by everyone!

Contributor: Amanda Rioux (Moore)