Active listening is a communication style that allows a listener to confirm what they are hearing is what the speaker intended. It is listening with a purpose. It is listening and repeating back to the speaker what was said.
When people speak to us we often will be distracted, thinking of other things, or selectively listening. Often we will be formulating an answer to what we are going to say as someone else is speaking.
The human mind can comprehend up to 600 words per minute reading. We listen at a rate of 300 per words per minute. We only speak at 100-175 words per minute. Considering that 85% of what we learn is from listening and we listen faster than others can speak, there is a lot of room for our minds to go elsewhere.
By learning to live actively we can get the improve the ability to get information, better communicate, and understand what others are saying. The key to actively listening is in the repeating.
Actively listening involves focusing on the speaker, what is being said. Additionally consideration is given to the ideas and emotions behind the words used and what is really meant. Then the listener repeats in their own words what they understood the speaker said and meant.
If there is any misunderstanding it can be cleared up at this point. The speaker can add further dialogue to explain what they want conveyed.
Try this... if you want to learn to concentrate on what others are saying, try repeating what they say as they say it. At the least paraphrase what they are saying as they say it. This will help prevent selective listening. This will focus your attention and help you concentrate on what is being said.
There are several ways to practice this. Watching TV and the people speaking there allows a wide diversity of speakers. News commentators on the Radio. Finally, those you work with. To do this, repeat what they are saying quietly and mentally to your self.
In addition to repeating what was said, the facts and ideas, the active listener can include the feelings noted from the speakers words.
Feelings can be discerned from both body language, tone and intonation. They can also be noted from the words used.
The feelings reveal the motivation of the speaker.
Learning active listening will help you to listen attentively when others are speaking.
Further, when they say things, you will be less likely to filter what you hear. It helps prevent selective listening.
Best of all, it opens the line of communication. Failure to communicate often comes from failure to understand. Communication does not mean agreeing. Understanding does require communication.