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Transcript of Active Listening
What is Active Listening?
Active listening is the practice of listening to a speaker while providing feedback indicating that the listener both hears and understands what the speaker is saying.
Therapists and other mental health professionals regularly practice active listening, but active listening is not exclusive to therapy. Business professionals, medical doctors, and other people who frequently interact with the public may use active listening as a tool to ensure good customer service and stronger communication. Many relationship counselors advocate active listening for couples and spend several therapy sessions encouraging couples to practice active listening skills. Active listening is also an important skill for parents to use with their children.
Barriers to Effective Communication
The Art of Questioning
1. Don’t Ask Yes or No Questions
2. Dig Deeper
3. Use the Power of Silence
When you ask a yes or no question, you will most often get incomplete information. Instead, ask an open-ended question. By using an open-ended question you get insights and additional information you might not have known existed.
Always consider using follow-up questions. Unless you are looking strictly for the facts, there is some sort of assumption in the answer the person gives you. Ask them a follow up question such as, “What makes you say that?” or “Why do you think that?”
Start getting comfortable with asking a question, waiting for response, listening to the response and then waiting some more. Many times the person you are questioning has more information and will bring it out when you wait for it. You have to be comfortable with that silent period before the dam breaks. Police and military interrogators use silence very effectively. People feel a need to fill the holes in the conversation and often they will then bring out the critical bit of information you seek.
The use of jargon. Over-complicated, unfamiliar and/or technical terms.
Emotional barriers and taboos. Some people may find it difficult to express their emotions and some topics may be completely 'off-limits' or taboo.
Lack of attention, interest, distractions, or irrelevance to the receiver. (See our page Barriers to Effective Listening for more information).
Differences in perception and viewpoint.
Physical disabilities such as hearing problems or speech difficulties.
Physical barriers to non-verbal communication. Not being able to see the non-verbal cues, gestures, posture and general body language can make communication less effective.
Language differences and the difficulty in understanding unfamiliar accents.
Expectations and prejudices which may lead to false assumptions or stereotyping. People often hear what they expect to hear rather than what is actually said and jump to incorrect conclusions.
Cultural differences. The norms of social interaction vary greatly in different cultures, as do the way in which emotions are expressed. For example, the concept of personal space varies between cultures and between different social settings.
Failure to Listen
Expressing Values/Judgements; Approval/Disapproval