The Art of Active Listening by Josh Gibson and Fynn Walker cover

The Art of Active Listening by Josh Gibson and Fynn Walker

Active Listening

There are only two communication states: actively listening, and not really listening. Active listening requires us to understand, interpret, and evaluate what we’re being told.

Our attention should be on the speaker and when we get the urge to say something, we stop this urge and instead concentrate on what’s being said.

The Importance of Active Listening

Active listening is the key to empathy and relationship building but the authors explain that by actively listening — we:

  • encourage people to open up
  • reduce the chances for misunderstanding
  • are more able to resolve problems and conflicts
  • build trust further

“Speaking is one person reaching out, and listening is another person accepting and taking hold. Together, they form communication, and this is the basis of all human relationships.” –Josh Gibson and Fynn Walker

The 7 Common Barriers to Active Listening

  1. Ignorance and delusion
  2. Reluctance
  3. Bias and prejudice
  4. Lack of interest
  5. Opinion of the speaker
  6. Own feelings
  7. Wrong time and wrong place

The 4 Components of Active Listening

  1. Acceptance – means trying to avoid expressing agreement or disagreement, at least initially.
  2. Honesty – means that you’re down to being open about your reactions, similar to acceptance — honest reactions given too soon can stifle further explanation on the part of the speaker
  3. Empathy – is your ability to understand their situation on an emotional level
  4. Specifics – refers to the need to deal in details rather than generalities

How To Improve Your Active Listening Skills

  1. Minimize external distractions
  2. Face the speaker
  3. Maintain eye contact
  4. Focus on the speaker
  5. Be open-minded
  6. Be sincerely interested
  7. Have sympathy, feel empathy
  8. Assess the emotion, not just the words
  9. Respond appropriately
  10. Minimize internal distractions
  11. Avoid “me” stories
  12. Don’t be afraid of silence
  13. Take notes
  14. Practice emotional intelligence
  15. Check your understanding

The Main Principles of Reflective Listening

Reflective listening is concerned with how you process what you’ve heard. All four components of active listening are put into work towards creating reflective responses.

The main principles of active listening are:

  • Listen more than you talk
  • Deal with personal specifics, not impersonal generalities
  • Decipher the feelings behind the words to create a better understanding of the issues
  • restate and clarify what you’ve heard
  • Understand the speaker’s point of view and avoid responding from your own viewpoint
  • Respond with acceptance and empathy, not coldly or with fake concern

From the book:-
The Art of Active Listening by Josh Gibson and Fynn Walker

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