The skill for active listening today is: Summarize.
Summarizing refers to the listener giving a brief restatement of the core ideas that he or she has picked up from the speaker. One way to do this is with a statement like “Let me summarize what I heard you say to check my understanding.” If the summary is on track, the speaker will give clear feedback. If you are off-track you will get feedback for correction. The end result is clearer understanding and a deeper relationship.
The goal of active listening is not to solve problems. Problem solving will occur through a process of conflict resolution. Active listening is designed to build a cooperative atmosphere that will allow both speaker and listener to clearly understand both content and emotion of the other. Conflict will then more clearly be identified and can be addressed in a productive way.
I’ll focus on conflict resolution next week.
I’d be honored to receive your feedback.