Active Listening: What it Really Is

active listening definition

Active listening, defined as active listening with the intent of influencing and being influenced, is a valuable process for communication in all forms of social relationships. Active listening is a process of attentive listening and observation of nonverbal cues, utilizing feedback in the form of correct paraphrasing, which is appropriate in training, conflict resolution, and resolving disagreements or misunderstandings. Active listening can be practiced by anyone regardless of their background, education, or experience. The art of active listening cannot be learned in one day but must be developed over time through practice and patience. However, there are some basic qualities that one must learn in order to master this valuable skill.

Active Listening Definition

A person sitting in front of a window

Active listening requires both accuracy and empathy. Accuracy refers to being aware of the cues being presented to the listener, while empathy helps the listener to more effectively comprehend and respond to the information being presented. Without accuracy and empathy, the exchange will not be effective. In order to affect change, the listener must feel as if the information being presented has value and importance. Without the ability to affect change, the listener cannot effectively communicate his or her needs.

To effectively use active listening in any situation, a listening technique must be applied in a respectful and effective manner. There are many instances where a listening technique will not be appropriate, and this should be identified and addressed before moving into the active listening definition. Some people are perfectionists who expect a perfect response from every situation. Others are impatient and expect immediate results. A person in this category may not be able to see how the information being given will impact them and their lives, but others will be able to see the desired end result and will not be impatient with the process.

Difference Between Passive And Active Listening

A woman standing in a field with a mountain in the background

The difference between passive and active listening means that in order to affect change, the listener must be open to receiving information. This is more effective than expecting a perfect response from no input at all. It is easier to imagine the end result than it is to achieve it. A successful outcome requires active listening because listeners are interested in both the immediate and long-term effects of their decisions. Therefore, instead of expecting the other person to “justify” the actions taken, the listener is actively seeking out the reasons for the action.

Important Tips

A very important tip to remember when using the active listening definition is to always remain focused. Some people are extremely distracted by various things around them and are not aware that they are doing so. In order to remain focused, the listener must try to keep distractions to a minimum and allow himself to hear and understand what is being said. There is often a misconception that focusing is a selfish act. However, if you are truly interested in understanding and solving the problem or issue being discussed, then you will be able to filter out the distractions and focus on the matter at hand.

The third tip that will help with the active listening definition is to pay close attention to non-verbal communication. When listening to a speaker, it is important to pay close attention to body language and to any tone of voice that is being used. When non-verbal clues are not used, the listener often struggles to decipher what is being said. When paying close attention, this will help in making the interpretation of what is being said much easier.

The last tip to remember when using the active listening definition is to also pay close attention to the timbre of voices and noises. In many cases, the speaker can be overbearing and give the same lecture for many consecutive days. The listener may feel as though the speaker does not care about the audience and, as a result, may feel frustrated. However, when an individual learns to control their breathing and to listen with appropriate intent, it is possible to enjoy the learning experience and to remain engaged in the conversation.

Summing Up

Overall, learning to use the active listening skills required for a song is relatively easy. Most students show an immediate knack for it and, in time, develop a routine that works well for them during the course of a semester or a lesson. If a student wants to take it further, they should consider taking some lessons with a professional vocal coach. By doing so, they will learn to develop a better vocabulary and will also be better prepared to sing a song in public.

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