[COMMUNICATE] Suppose you are engaging in a conversation where the other person is doing most of the talking.

Does that mean you’re actually listening?

You could be agreeing, commenting or even making “listening sounds,” but how actively are you involved? How convincing are you as a listener?

If the situation is volatile or emotional, it’s especially important to listen actively and to convey your sincere intent to hear what is being said.

Two techniques you can use is to: 1) test your understanding (clarify) and 2) summarize what you’ve heard. Here are some examples:

Testing Your Understanding (Clarifying What You Heard)

  • Are you saying we need to follow up with a memo to everyone?
  • Did you mean we all should be present to start the program?
  • I’m not sure these numbers add up right – do they include the Literacy Group?

Summarizing (Listing What Has Been Said)

  • Now that we’ve outlined all of the pros and cons of the issue, discussed our individual positions, and made our proposal, it seems we’re ready to put everything into motion.
  • So we’ve decided to identify a speaker, promote the program with social media and gather satisfaction feedback after the event.
  • You want to include children in the planning, keep the target at age 14 and below, and make the promotional materials colorful.