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Definition: Active Listening
‘Hearing’ is an involuntary act of acknowledging a sound or noise. ‘Listening’ is a voluntary act wherein the listener makes an attempt to grasp the external sound or noise. ‘Active Listening’ is an advanced form of listening, wherein the listener not only grasps the sound or words, but also understands the body language of the speaker but also the underlying message of the speech. Active listening is achieved when the listener is able to reproduce the said speech in his own words or questions to the listener. The listener pays unwavering attention and makes a conscious effort to concentrate on the speaker’s words and grasp the underlying message in the speech.
Active listening is evident when the listener asks relevant questions and is able to reiterate the message of the speech. His affirmative body language including his gestures and expressions are suggestive of the same.
It is important to listen actively, not only to eliminate mis-communication of the transferred message, but also to convey to the speaker of the receipt of his message, avoid repeat requests and encourage further inputs from him.