Effective Active Listening Skills Essay
Paper type: Essay
Words: 863, Paragraphs: 11, Pages: 4
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Effective active listening is a must in every communication process. Everyday, people engage in communication processes, but some fail to perform effective active listening skills. Neglecting this important aspect of communication can hamper communication. In the video clip, Planning to Promote Socially Appropriate Behavior, we see how effective active listening skills work to attain communication among the participants. Four teachers serve as participants in the video clip. They are kindergarten teachers who express the importance of teaching affective communication skills.
Each teacher is given her chance to express herself to the group, while others listen intently.
Notably, several factors affect the success of their communication process, among which is effective active listening. The communication takes place in the school. The teachers are seated along one edge of a long table. Although the table is long, they sit closely with each other, which makes it easy for them to hear the one speaking. This way, they did not have to raise their voices or stand to be recognized before they speak.
The environment and position of the teachers notably affect the communication process. Since there is the absence of noise, we find the environment conducive to achieving communication. Obviously, the teachers have a common concept in mind of what needs to be discussed. This is very important in every communication situation. Setting a target for the group will help facilitate understanding. For instance, when holding a faculty meeting, the head should identify the agenda in advance.
By doing this, concerns which are not relevant to the given topic may be avoided. Particularly in this meeting, the teachers are exchanging ideas on how to teach affective skills to students. One of the teachers expresses that most of the students she encounters do not show respect in communicating with peers. She feels that students should be taught the proper way to approach others, including their teachers. This statement serves as the lead for other participants to discuss ways on how they incorporate affective skills in their classroom.
Aside from serving as the lead, this statement also limits the discussion to one single topic. As Lansberger (1996) notes, active listening requires focusing intentionally on who you are listening to in order to understand what the person is saying. This does not mean agreeing with, but rather understanding what is being said. Particularly, we can note that the teachers in the video achieve focus by speaking one by one. This makes the message come across clearly, making the flow of thought more comprehensible and organized, thus allowing for effective active listening.
In the same way, this helps the audience summarize more easily the points raised. Also, according to Lansberger, active listening is present when the listener is able to repeat back in her own words what is said. This pertains to the feedback part. Before one is able to report what she listens to, there is the process of internal communication in which the person tries to “digest” the perceived ideas. For instance, when we are listening to a lecture, we sometimes hear ourselves repeat exactly what our teacher says.
This is a sign that we are listening actively. In the video, we see that the teachers are able to follow the ideas of their colleagues. In addition, although they do not repeat what their colleague is saying, at one point, one teacher is able to complement the thought of the speaker. This is a sign of effective active listening, as the listener is able to construct the statement at the same time the speaker is trying to convey it. Another sign that demonstrates effective active listening is the listener’s facial reaction.
As one teacher speaks, we can note that others react by nodding, winking, smiling, and sometimes even bending slightly towards the speaker to hear more clearly. Moreover, they take down notes while someone is speaking. Taking down notes can sometimes distract the speaker’s attention, thus some speakers prefer to give handouts to allow the audience to respond well during a lecture. However, in the video clip, we see that by looking at the speaker while writing, the teachers are still able to maintain the rapport with each other.
Therefore, the gesture of taking down notes does not affect the communication process in this particular situation. Although the teachers in the video clip demonstrate evidences for effective active listening, there remain some points to be improved. In particular, the participants who have shared their views could elicit the views of one speaker who did not talk. While it is commendable for the others, especially the teacher wearing a black blouse, to share their views, it would also help if they give a chance to the other participant who has not talked.
Eliciting one’s opinion or asking for clarifications (i. e. , asking, What do you think? ) can help detect signs of effective active listening. Through this, the speaker can check if the audience is truly listening. When the listener responds coherently to the speaker’s idea, we can note active listening signs. Otherwise, the speaker should find out factors that hinder effective active listening. Such factors may include outside noise, thoughts of the listener, or language barriers.