Tip: Question Handling: Active Listening

Advanced Presentation Skills: Question Handling – Step 1: Active Listening

Active Listening Timeline

Step One: “Active Listening”

A management expression used quite loosely but, in our experience, much misunderstood. The “font of all knowledge” Wikipedia defines as:

Active listening is a communication technique that requires the listener to feed back what they hear to the speaker by way of re-stating or paraphrasing what they have heard in their own words to confirm what they have heard and, moreover, to confirm the understanding of both parties.

The ability to listen actively demonstrates sincerity and that nothing is being assumed or taken for granted. Active listening is most often used to improve personal relationships, reduce misunderstandings and conflicts, strengthen cooperation, and foster understanding. It is proactive, accountable and professional

It all sounds good stuff, and is so obvious that you need to listen to the question before answering, but you would be amazed at how few people do! Typically we find clients will capture a few words and then think through and tee up their stock answer on the subject while the questioner completes the question.

Active listening is:

  • 100 % concentration on the person asking the question
  • Listening carefully to the tone of voice and the words used
  • Thinking of the implications behind the question

It is not:

Tuning out, thinking how you are going to respond and waiting for your chance to speak (jump in!)

Stay tuned for Step 2!

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