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Use Active Listening Skills during Difficult Conversations

Apply some best practices to have better conversations with others

Difficult conversations are not easy to have! We have our own perceptions of the situation that impact what we hear from someone else and our emotions are certainly running high. However, by using active listening skills, you make a conscious effort to hear and understand the other person so that you can learn their perspective.

Active listening is a skill and communication strategy that involves seeing to understand the other person’s idea and then offering that idea back to the other person to confirm you have understood it correctly. When we actively listen, we pay attention! We are not thinking about something else or about our rebuttal. We listen and watch the other person’s body language for clues into how they feel and what is important to them.

Best Pratice

Follow these best practices to more actively and effectively listen to other during a difficult conversation:

  • Focus and make meaningful eye contact with the individual with whom you are speaking
  • Pay attention to the body language of the individual with whom you are speaking
  • Maintain an interested and open body posture of your own
  • Avoid external distractions – stay focused
  • Nod and acknowledge points made by the individual speaking with you, and provide appropriate feedback
  • Occasionally reflect back (paraphrase) to ensure understanding and/or ask clarifying questions
  • Don’t interrupt and don’t finish sentences for the other person

Want to train your employees in having difficult conversations? Contact Abudi Consulting Group to learn more about our on-site or virtual workshop on Having Difficult Conversations: Ensuring Honest and Meaningful Communications with Others.

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