Advanced Communication Listening Skills

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Communications
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Advanced Communication Listening Skills Lawyers Assistance Program Facilitated by Robert Bircher


Effective Listening Skills • To be a great communicator, the first step is being a good listener • Many lawyers believe they are good listeners, but on a 5 step level of listening skills most only rank a level 2 • Lawyers are usually good at responding to content or the cognitive portion • Effective communication exists between two people when the receiver interprets and understands the senders message in the same way the sender intended it


Difficulty Listening • Most people have difficulty listening because: • They are preoccupied with something else • They are waiting for a chance to put forth their view and are just waiting for an opening • They are formulating a rebuttal to what the speaker is saying • They are listening to their own beliefs about what is being said • They are evaluating and making judgments about the speaker or the message • They don’t ask for clarification when they don’t understand


Listening Modes • Competitive or Combative listeningwhen we are more interested in promoting our own point of view than in understanding or exploring someone else’s view-we lie in wait for an opening to disagree • Passive or Attentive Listening-we are genuinely interested in hearing and understanding the others persons point of view. We are attentive but passively listen-we assume we are understanding but don’t confirm it at all


Reflective or Active Listening • This is most useful and important listening skill. In active listening we are also genuinely interested in understanding what the other person is thinking, feeling, wanting or what the message means, and we are active in checking out our understanding before we respond with our own message. We restate or paraphrase our understanding of their message and reflect it back to the sender for clarification. This verification or feedback process is what distinguishes active listening and makes it effective


Benefits of Reflective Listening • You demonstrate: • Your desire to understand how the person is thinking and feeling • Your willingness not to judge • Your belief the person is worthwhile • Your respect and willingness to accept the others thoughts and feeling • Your willingness to enter their reality (world view) 6

Benefits of Reflective Listening • There is a difference between hearing the words and listening for the message • When we listen effectively we understand what the person is thinking and/or feeling from the others own perspective • Our own worldview may be different but to work with anyone we must accept and understand deeply their internal reality. Understanding or accepting does not mean agree with • To listen effectively we must be actively involved in the communication process, and not just listening passively • This process also clears up any potential misunderstandings


Empathy Before Solutions • People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care • People need to be heard and acknowledged before they are willing to consider an alternative or change their point of view • It is much easier for a person to listen to another point of view when they know you are listening to and understand their point of view • This process identifies and makes obvious flaws in the persons reasoning when they hear it reflected back to them


Increasing Depth of Intimacy • Reflective listening allows the person to go very deep into their own process and reveal more about themselves • It is much more effective than questioning which often causes people to clam up and become guarded • It demonstrates:empathy, respect, trust, understanding and caring


How To Listen Effectively • We will be doing a number of practice exercises to show you how to do this and to increase the depth of your listening ability • You will be practicing this in dyads and we will demonstrate what it looks like • Basically you paraphrase and reflect back exactly what you are hearing-you add nothing, change nothing, modify nothing-you remove entirely your point of view • This means getting your own mindstream out of they way-in some ways it is like meditation 10

Reflective Listening Practice • After our demonstration you will get into dyads (sitting in a chair face to face) • Decide who will be the talker and the listener • The listener will use their own words to verbalize the message-try not to just parrot the words back or you will probably annoy the speaker • If you are not sure of what they said or meant check it out-don’t assume anything • This is a listening exercise not a conversation 11

What to Reflect • • • • • • •

You can reflect back: An account of the facts The persons thoughts and beliefs (content) Feelings and emotions (affect) Wants, unmet needs, or motivation Hopes or expectations At first this is very difficult to do-there are 5 levels of the depth of reflection (empathy) • The main obstacle is getting away from your own judgments and thinking and the temptation to offer solutions before you understand what is going on for them


Listening Tips • The speaker must stop frequently to allow the listener to respondmost people can only remember a few sentences worth of data • If the listener is in doubt about the message they need to check it out • Don’t respond to just the meaning of the words-look for the feelings or intent beyond the words


Do Not Ask Questions! Except to clarify

• In this process questions only take the speaker away from what they are thinking or feelingparticularly disastrous are “why questions” • Only clarification-type questions are useful: I’m not sure I understood you is this what you meant? • If you don’t understand what they are saying let them know, or ask them to say it another way • Be empathic and nonjudgmental. You can be accepting and respectful of the person and their feelings and beliefs without invalidating or giving up your own position or without agreeing with the accuracy and validity of their view


Helpful Phrases • If you think you understand: • I’m sensing that ,I wonder if, I get the impression that, It seems that, What I hear you saying is, You mean, You believe • If you don’t understand; • Could it be, I wonder if, I'm not sure I’m with you but, Correct me if I’m wrong but, This is what I hear you saying


Thoughts And Feelings • Some people are unclear as to the difference • Feelings usually have a body sensation and are usually one word-anger, fear, sadness etc • Thoughts are mental constructs and use several words • Prefacing with “I feel” doesn’t mean anything-I feel Canada has a better hockey team, I feel my mom doesn’t respect me, I feel I should get out of law, I feel my brother disrespects me- are all thoughts- not feelings • If you want them to access their feelings you could say “as you tell me this what emotion bubbles up for you?” or “where in your body do you feel this?”


Five Levels of Understanding • There are 5 levels of Empathy as shown by the example in the attached page • A level one response is at best useless and could be harmful –a level five response will increase empathy and will usually be very helpful to the person • It is impossible to achieve these levels without some practice-if you can achieve level 3 you are doing well • We will demonstrate what this looks like • We will do 3 exercises to improve your skills here-each one will be more challenging


Exercises • Exercise 1-Topic-My relationship with my mother/father/best friend • 5 minutes each-2 minute debrief-what was this experience like for you?-how did it feel? • Exercise 2-Topic-My top 3 accomplishments in my life and how I feel about them-focus on thoughts and feelings • Exercise 3-Topic- The greatest challenge I have in my life now/or if you have none- The greatest challenge I have had in life and how I handled it-focus on thoughts+ feeling+ deficit(if any) and a possible solution ( the Lap, Psychologist, Doctor, Interlock,AA etc.) if appropriate • Set your own boundaries as to what you disclose


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