There are many variations of active listening available on the internet. Over the next few days I am going to take you through the eight strategies used successfully world-wide by those involved in crisis negotiations.
Sometimes called rephrasing, rewording or reframing, after a relevant period of time it is a good idea to briefly go back over what the other person has said so that you have a good understanding of what they said, their circumstances and how it has made them feel. You do this by taking what they said and placing it into your own words. You can either work backwards from their last statement or work in the same order.
Start by saying, "If I hear you correctly.....:, or "So far you've told me that.....". Ensure that you include the same key words that they used so that you don't lose their message. At the conclusion of your paraphrase it is often good practice to confirm with the person that you have the facts recorded accurately.
This technique shows the person that you are genuinely interested in what they are saying, have heard them and are attentive to their needs. This technique works well in a Call Centre environment as it shows the person that they are speaking with a real person and not a robot of the organisation.
Be careful not to downplay what the person has experienced when paraphrasing. You do this by reflecting back to them their emotions at the end of paraphrase by saying "....and because of this you feel frustrated". If the conversation is a long one, paraphrase every 5 minutes or so.
Tomorrow we will look at 'I' Messages, how to stop inappropriate behaviour.