Using Active Listening to Engage People and Resolve Conflicts

Help When You Need It.

Want a way to engage other people and resolve conflicts, all while increasing your own allure? Try active listening. Here's how:

In the example case, by using these techniques, the listener was able to determine that the speaker did not, in fact, object to approving the document. The speaker objected to submitting the document to FDA. Resolution was achieved by agreeing to approve the document in the company's document management system, then holding the document until the delinquent appendix was received. This solution saved money by avoiding the rework that accompanies a stalled document.

The active listening technique helped the listener identify the real issues, find the common ground, and achieve resolution.

Try this exercise. Find a partner, and choose one of you to be the speaker and the other the listener. Have the listener ask an open-ended question, listen to the speaker for the response, and then repeat the response. Then have the listener ask a follow-up question and repeat the ask-listen-repeat cycle for a total of three iterations. You'll be amazed. Consider asking the speaker and listener what each of you experienced while conducting this exercise.

We once had an attendee at one of our training courses who objected to this exercise. "Wouldn't it be annoying that the listener is just repeating what I said?" he asked. The irony was while he objected, we were using these active listening techniques to respond to his objections. Do you think he noticed?

When applied correctly, active listening works!