Active Listening Reflection

As I reflect on the active listening process and class assignment; there were many elements to listening that I was not aware of that were required before beginning a formal interview process. My colleague, with whom I was teamed, shared a very interesting topic that allowed me to learn of a new academic endeavor that worked the system to produce college ready students. What was helpful was a handout from a training that crossed my path. It reported that true active listening means a “ready-to-receive” attitude, and “attentive behavior”. This does “not only involve taking in what is said, but also developing an ear for the background, and what is not said, as well as the semi-tones or emphases.”

There are 4 preconditions associated with active listening:

1. Interest
2. Readiness to listen
3. Ability to listen
4. To be completely present   or “all there”

Furthermore, it is also important that the person I am listening to, knows that I actually am listening to him/her intently. Listening is a difficult skill for me as my pace and energy level is fast. This will now be one of my professional goals. This means that I will look and give signals of readiness to listen. As an active listener I must find ways to use non-verbal signals (eye-contact, body posture, gesture) or a verbal expression to encourage, and use complementary/explanatory statements and/or questions. The most challenging component for me is that true active listening demands attentiveness, interest, receiving of the message and embracing the message.

Active listening is supposed to complement speech and evolve around the discussion framework. The connecting of speech and active listening creates genuine discussion.  Nonetheless, due to my personality, interruption is an avoidance behavior pattern I need to address immediately, especially if it’s a topic of non-interest.  Interruption is the converse of active listening, and one that can cause the most damage. Listening is an “active form of silence” and is nonverbal and wordless. Silence can also signal to the speaker that you understood, and appreciate what was said. If you haven’t come to the realization by now, it sounds like our class discussion on being present in the moment.

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