Module 3: Active Listening

Active listening is about building rapport, understanding and trust. This module intends to help you become more self-aware about your listening skills and ways that you can improve them. There are techniques we can learn to become better listeners and Glish coaches need to be able to listen with the utmost skill. Listening actively requires energy, focus and a certain attitude. It takes practice to develop active listening skills, and it’s a habit that has to be reinforced. Remind yourself that the goal of conversation is not merely to trade words, but to truly understand what the other person is saying and to be understood in turn.  If there is one communication skill you should aim to master, then active listening is it.

During your meeting with your mentor, you’ll have a conversation about all aspects of the following:

1. Mindful Listening Practice

Mindfulness—the act of being fully present in each moment with kindness and without judgment—is a wonderful skill to practice when you are in any situation that requires listening.

In any conversation, you can use the person that’s speaking as your “object of mindfulness.” Pay full attention to what they are saying. When your mind wanders away from what is being said, immediately and without judgment bring yourself back to the words of the person speaking. Repeat this exercise as many times as necessary. You will eventually strengthen your mental musculature to stay more focused and aware.

Listening is not the same as hearing and in order to listen effectively we need to use more than just our ears.

2. Listening Quiz

This little test is meant to be taken in the spirit of self-awareness. It’s not meant to be an official personality analysis - just a stimulus for thinking about ways to become a better listener.

How do you rate your listening skills? Try this self-assessment quiz: http://psychologytoday.tests.psychtests.com/take_test.php?idRegTest=3206

3. Watch these TED Talks

5 Ways to Listen Better by Julian Treasure

How to Speak so that People Want to Listen by Julian Treasure

The Listening Bias by Tony Salvador

5. Things to Think About

What can you do to improve your active listening skills?
Why does a Glish conversation coach need to have excellent active listening skills?
What attitudes can we adopt to become better listeners?