2Active Listening - Defined Active listening is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding.Often when people talk to each other, they don’t listen attentively. They are often distracted, half listening, half thinking about something else.
4Active Listening - Defined Active listening is a structured form of listening and responding that focuses on the speaker.The listener must attend to the speaker fully, and then repeat, in the listener’s own words, what was said.The listener does not have to agree with the speaker, only state what they think the speaker said. This enables the speaker to feel understood. If the listener did not understand, the speaker can explain some more.
6Active Listening & Conflict When people are engaged in a conflict, they are often busy formulating a response to what is being said. Rather than paying attention, they focus on how they can respond in order to win the argument.In resolution, though, the idea is to look for the middle ground, to listen more than talk. This is where Active Listening plays a crucial role.
7Reflecting ContentReflecting Content is repeating what the other person says in your own words. This makes them feel as if they’ve been heard and understood.This is also known as Restating or Summarizing or Paraphrasing.Clarifying is also similar, but comes in the form of a question – think 9 Guidelines of Communication, Testing Assumptions, etc.
8Reflecting FeelingsBolton stresses that most conflicts will never resolve unless we respond at the emotional level first – unless we allow hurt feelings to be expressed, understood, and apologized for.This is done by reflecting feelings in a conflict, so the speaker knows that they have not only been heard (reflecting content), but that their emotional landscape is understood as well.
10Inserting Apologies in Reflection Once skills at reflection of content/emotion are developed, one may begin to insert apologies within the reflection in order to move the conversation towards unity and resolution.Example: “I feel that you’re upset because it seems we’ve been bothering your child. I’m sorry, I don’t want to upset either of you.”Example: “I feel that you think my having gelato with a coworker means more than it does. I’m sorry, I would have never done it if I thought it would seem like that.”
11“I” StatementsNotice that each of the above examples began with the words “I feel…” This allows for the speaker to express themselves by focusing on interests, not positions.Using “I” Statements identifies one’s feelings, which helps each side of the conversation understand the issues at the heart of the conflict.Example: “I feel sad when you talk to me that way.” or “I feel upset that you didn’t remember my birthday.”
12“You” Statements“You” Statements are much more inflammatory and accusatory, creating a situation in which someone may feel defensive, and focus on positions instead of interests.Example: “You make me mad when you talk to me that way!” or “You are a jerk because you didn’t remember my birthday!”