By | Jamey Austin | www.theladders.com
What is active listening?
Active listening is a way of listening to another person that enhances shared understanding. The listener concentrates on the speaker, and repeats what the speaker has said.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: a teammate goes into a long story, all the details, sort’ve rambling on. You do your best to listen, you maintain eye contact, you stay aware of your body language, you ask pertinent questions. You are actively listening to your teammate.
Then it’s your turn to talk.
But the moment you start talking, your teammate pulls out a phone. Or she glances quickly at her laptop. Maybe you’re addressing the whole team and as soon as you begin, you realize: nobody’s really listening. Eyes have dropped to screens, or have glazed over. Heads are nodding, but the nods are mistimed with your points. A few mm-hmms are produced, but general agreement isn’t the right response to what you’ve just said.