Listening is a skill that requires active, rather than passive, participation to advance shared understanding and minimise misinterpretation. Active listening strategies such as analysing and displaying non-verbal body language, clarifying meaning and accuracy, expressing understanding for the speaker’s feelings through empathy and moments of silence contribute to effective communication. These methods encourage the speaker to convey his or her thoughts and minimises misinterpretation between sender and receiver.
In order to discuss this topic it is necessary to determine the definition of the terms effective communication and active listening. Effective communication occurs when there is a shared understanding between sender and receiver (Eunson 2008: 9). Active listening is a listening skill that ‘focuses on … clues, ie, utterances and/or behaviours that are not explicit but may have special meaning and suggest unshared ideas, concerns, and expectations’ (Lang et al 2000: 222).
Active listening is as much a visual activity as it is an auditory activity. Non-verbal body…
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