Do you want to hear your conversation partner, help him/her express his/her thoughts, and control the emotional side of the conversation so as to avoid misunderstanding and build a constructive dialogue? The following active listening techniques will come to your aid:
- Encouraging, approving, promoting the conversation partner
Demonstrate active interest encouraging the words of the conversation partner. Use neutral words that do not denote the assessment. Avoid criticism. Make eye contact and nod in time with the words of the conversation partner.
To receive more information ask your conversation partner to provide additional, more accurate explanations. Rephrase what you have heard not precisely so the speaker could continue the explanation. Use clarifying questions if there are ambiguous, full of meaning, unclear things.
- Repetition and paraphrasing
Repeat the words of the conversation partner literally or repeat the thoughts of the speaker in your own words. Show that you are listening and understand the matter of what has been said. By this, you also control your own understanding.
Pauses encourage the conversation partner to continue the speech giving an extra opportunity to collect thoughts together.
- Reflecting the feelings of the conversation partner
Demonstrate that you understand the feelings of the other person. Give the person an opportunity to hear something about his/her thoughts from another perspective.
- Sympathising, empathising
Recognise the significance and express the respect to the feelings and emotional experience of the other person. Emphasise the importance of his/her self-esteem, importance. Recognise the significance of problems of the conversation partner.
- Summarisation, wrap-up, final remarks
Put together the main ideas and facts from the conversation. Prepare the ground for future discussions. State the main ideas and feelings again.