I am a part of a program at UNCG called the Bryan School Leadership Academy. It is a great program for active leaders on the campus of UNCG. This past Friday we had a session dedicated to communication, catered specifically to active listening. Our first task was to define active listening.
Active listening can have very different meanings, depending on how you view it. It can mean listening accurately, participating in the conversation to make sure you are both on the same page, or showing interest. It is polite to wait for the person to finish speaking first before asking questions. If you interrupt to ask a question to clarify what the person was saying, then that is fine. If you ask, what you think is going on and the person says yes then the person can continue and you both will go forward in unison. In addition, if you ask what you think is going on and the person says no, the person will rephrase it so that you will not walk left and they walk right.
There are possible ways for a conversation to turn for the worst. Certain expressions can make a person talk louder and angrier. This is because they THINK they are not being heard in what they are saying. This can mean that the other person does not understand their scenario as they tell it. To avoid the conflict avoid the following (courtesy of http://www.wisdomworks.net):
1. Blaming and attacking
2. Being distracted or using other body language
4. “Yes…but” statements
5. Making light of the situation
For a conversation to go smoothly, try these communication enhancers:
1. Asking for more information and problem solving together
2. Making eye contact, leaning toward the other person giving them your undivided attention
3. Showing empathy, validating the other person’s feelings
4. staying silent until the person is finished
6. Withholding judgment
I really appreciate the work that Dr. Preston Yarborough and Katelyn Chapman from UNCG’s Office of Leadership and Service Learning, and Amanda Pelon from the Bryan School of Business and Economics for their passion in helping develop future leaders of the world. I have learned so much this past school year and I am sad that there is only one more session before I graduate. I hope the Bryan Leadership Academy continues to prosper and grow. I am thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of a great program.