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Active Listening

A necessary skill for successful communication and conflict resolution is Active Listening.

Active Listening is when you really hear what the other person is saying - rather than considering what your next response will be, really pay attention to what is being communicated - and repeat back the essence of the message.

For example, let's say your spouse is having a tough time at work, and they're venting to you. An Active Listening response would be, "It sounds like this is upsetting to you. When your boss demands reports at the last minute and you have a lot to do, it must be very stressful!" When we do this, we acknowledge to the other person that they've been heard - and sometimes that's all that's needed.

This morning I got a text from one of my Dad's friends, telling me how busy she is with harvesting in her garden and canning. She mentioned how much she misses my Dad. My response was, "It sounds like you're really busy with the tasks of the season! You must be working very hard. I understand how much all of you miss Dad - we miss him, too."

Active Listening is crucial to conflict resolution, too. Try using Active Listening skills when you are having conflict. "I'm hearing that you want me to get the weekly report to you earlier. Right now I'm overloaded with the widget inventory; is there anyone free to help me do both by the deadline?"


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