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Third, attempt to clarify speaker's thoughts and feelings. This will help as one seeks to understand other person. One way to do this is to ask open-ended questions, such as "How do you feel about this plan?” or “What is your specific recommendation?” rather than close-ended ones (e.g. "Is plan on schedule?').
Another helpful approach is to use reflective listening techniques. Reflective listening is a powerful tool for ensuring that we have understood speaker’s ideas—and it’s a great way to make that person feel that he has been listened to and appreciated. We’ll say more about reflective listening techniques in Part II of this article.
Active listening does not come naturally to most people. It is a skill that must be developed, but can be cultivated with only a modest amount of effort. Moreover, it is essential if we want to have smooth and effective meetings to go smoothly, in which we have properly understood issues and everyone’s point of view.
V. Berba Velasco Jr., Ph.D. is a senior electrical and software engineer at CTL (Europe, China), an ELISPOT products and services provider.