Nov 2, 2009

What is Active Listening?

Active Listening is a way of listening to acknowledge the reaction of the person to being confronted by your I-Message.

Here are some reactions of others to I-Messages and appropriate Active Listening responses:

"How would I know it would effect you."
-> "You're saying you would have no way of knowing." (Active Listening)
"I'm sorry you feel that way."
-> "You're sorry that I feel upset." (Active Listening)

"I didn't do it, Victor did it."
-> "Oh. You know that it was Victor, not you." (Active Listening)

"I couldn't help but be late...I had a flat tire."
-> "Oh. It was out of your control?" (Active Listening)

"It's not what it looks like. You're making a big fuss out of nothing."
-> "You think my feelings are not justified." (Active Listening)

As you can see Active Listening is a verbal mirroring of the other's reactions to your Confrontive I-Message. It is sometimes called "feeding back" the others response to show that you understand the other's response and to convey that you are not simply out to get your need met at the other's expense. And you may not always want to abandon your needs, yet you do want to understand the other's response to your confrontation. This can often lead to both of you finding a good no-lose situation to the problem.

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