Active listening can be defined as a structured way to listen and respond while objectively concentrating upon the function of communication rather than paying attention to forms, subjectivity, or passive expression…
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ay to listen and respond while objectively concentrating upon the function of communication rather than paying attention to forms, subjectivity, or passive expression. Active listening, as the name indicates, requires the listener to be fully attentive toward the speaker while the communication is going on. Active listening is the best form of listening because it leads to accurate understanding of meaning on the part of the listener. Active listening leads to such an interaction between the speaker and the listener in which the listener makes use of emotional intelligence in order to optimize the understanding. “Demanding both verbal and nonverbal skills, this way of communication improves mutual understanding by using techniques like paraphrasing” (Bauer and Figl, 2008). Active listening is a technique of communication that is used in training, counseling, and conflict resolution. This technique requires the listener to convey what they have heard to the speaker as per their understanding of it. This can be achieved either by restating exact words of the speaker or by paraphrasing them so as to convey the correct meaning as a confirmation of the fact that the listener has heard and understood the speaker correctly. When one person talks to another, the listener often waits to speak rather than focusing the entire attention on listening or the listener may be distracted. “By using active listening skills, negotiators control the tone of negotiations while they build the empathy necessary to win subjects' confidence and to resolve tense situations” (Noesner and Webster, 1997). Successful communication between two parties cannot take place without the establishment of a common ground of understanding. The common ground of agreeing to disagree can be false. Still, it continues to be a common ground once both parties accept it as understood. The very common ground provides the platform for the dialogue, progress, and understanding to take place. It is hard to establish that common ground without showing the speaker respect for their words. Techniques to conduct proper Active Reflective Listening In order to use the technique of active listening for the improvement of interpersonal communication, it is imperative that an individual does not concentrate upon personal emotions while the conversation goes on. In everyday interaction, people try to read the mind of the speaker and try to understand why the speaker is saying a certain phrase or speaking in a certain way. Sometimes, listeners tend to concentrate upon these factors more than is required. This distracts the listener from the real understanding of conversation and also makes it difficult for the speaker to convey the meaning conveniently. The listener should ask questions from the speaker to clarify doubts and try to paraphrase the received information back to the speaker in an attempt to clarify any confusions and misunderstandings. It is also important for an individual to try to overcome distractions in the environment during conversation. When an individual argues prematurely or forms judgment about the speaker, it shows that the listener is holding onto firm personal opinion that might even not be correct. In addition to leading the listener to incorrect conclusions, this habit or behavior serves as a hindrance in the development of their ability to
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