What is active listening?
- “Active listening is a structured form of listening and responding that focuses the attention on the speaker” (Huffman, 2009, p. 492).
How detrimental can it be to not listen actively?
- Try listening to someone or something with background noise, such as music, a television show, or something equally distracting. Have them tell you some facts or points and see how much you actually retain.
How can you improve your active listening skills?
- Practice, Practice, Practice!
- Without distractions, have a conversation with someone while focusing on what they are saying to you.
- Respond to them by verbalizing as much of the information they have shared as you can.
- Then, have that person evaluate how accurately you heard what they told you.
What is the end-goal of active listening?
- You are no longer focusing on your agenda.
- You are now focusing on the patient’s concerns/ideas/perspective.
- This will help you determine what topics require further exploration.
- The patient will feel heard and understood, rather than feeling like they are being told what to do.
Huffman, M. H. (2009). Health Coaching: A Fresh, New Approach to Improve Quality Outcomes and Compliance for Patients with Chronic Conditions. Home Healthcare Nurse, 27 (8), 490 – 497.