The Skill of Active Listening

Active listening is a vital skill when trying to resolve conflict with a friend, spouse or a relative. When you are in conflict with another person, practice the following steps to begin to resolve the conflict. 

1.      Offer to listen or request for your partner to listen to you. Listen without putting in your own opinion.

1.       If the listener agrees, they agree to not put in their comments, but simply reflect back what the other is saying (in their own words).

2.       If the listener is not ready to listen, it’s OK to say “no,” but give the other a time when they will be ready to listen.

2.      The speaker shares 3 – 4 points at a time and the listener repeats back what the speaker said paraphrased in their own words.

1.       The intent is to put yourself in the other’s shoes and see the situation through from their perspective

2.       The intent is to really understand with empathy and understanding, rather than be assembling your rebuttal while the other person is talking.

3.       It is not necessary to agree with anything the other says, but just to understand

4.       This process helps make sure all of a person’s points are understood accurately

5.       This process helps the speakers fight or flight response to conflict go down

6.       Decreasing fight or flight increases rational thinking

3.      After reflecting back the main points of what the other said, the listener asks, “Is there anything else?” and invites the speaker to share more of their points.

4.      This process is repeated until the speaker communicates all their points.

5.      When the process is finished, the speaker communicates appreciation for the other’s listening and understanding their point of view.

6.      Reverse roles and repeat the process.