Seeking feedback on your talking and listening progress

Seeking feedback on your talking and listening progress

Assuming you have used the previous activity to make a plan to improve your spoken communication, seek feedback on your progress. (If you have only just made your plan, this is a good time to find someone willing to help, as they can observe your ‘baseline’ performance against which to measure progress.) Find someone willing to have a session where you will focus on listening and take turns at being the listener – you might agree to do the same for them. Think of a topic that would be helpful to talk through but which is not too sensitive or emotionally painful. Examples might include where to live next year, what industrial placement to pursue or whether to stand for office in a society. Or some of the ideas introduced earlier: your work expectations; your progress towards developing key skills thus far; learning objectives for your degree and any blocks encountered on the way to achieving them.

Agree that for a specific time – say, 10 minutes – the listener will aim to help the speaker in sorting out their thoughts by active listening. Then, at the end of that period, discuss the effectiveness of the listening. How helpful did the speaker find it? What was most and what least helpful in the listener’s behaviour? Were there points at which either of you felt uncomfortable? Why was this? After the discussion, exchange roles and start again. (You might like to reflect on similarities and differences between the experiences of active and attentive listening.) Repeat the process every month or so and file your notes.

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