The next skill in active listening is: Ask Open-ended Questions.
Paying attention is the critical first skill to be used in active listening. As I listen attentively, repeating back what I’m hearing the speaker say, I can take the conversation deeper by asking questions. Open ended questions are best in active listening, since the goal is a more complete understanding the speaker’s meaning.
“Could you say more about…?” “Would you be willing to explain this further?” “Could you help me to understand this better?” are all example of questions that extract more information.
These questions should be asked in the cooperative spirit that was begun by using attentiveness.
To sum up, at this stage of listening the goal is understanding the other, not problem-solving. Attempt to keep defensiveness down by using active listening skills.
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