Page 1 of 1 [ 6 posts ] 

Mona Pereth
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 62
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,511
Location: New York City (Queens)

10 Apr 2021, 9:35 am

On Tuesday, April 13, at 7:00 PM Eastern time, I'll be leading an online support group discussion meeting (text-based chat) with the topic of "Active Listening."

I'll use this thread to think out loud about the topic in preparation for the meeting.

Here's a list of tutorials on active listening.

As I say in my introduction on the above page, some aspects of the "active listening" methodology are relatively easy for many of us to learn, while others are more difficult. But we can get a lot of mileage out of just the relatively easy parts, ignoring the more difficult parts. The relatively easy parts of active listening are among the autistic-friendly social skills I often refer to, as distinct from masking (blending in with NT's).

Alas, many tutorials on active listening stress nonverbal stuff like eye contact. For a humorous illustration of what's wrong with that, see this video:



Later I'll post my thoughts about the more worthwhile material in some of the tutorials on my list.


_________________
- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- Longterm visions for the autistic community


Mona Pereth
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 62
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,511
Location: New York City (Queens)

10 Apr 2021, 10:06 pm

Benefits of active listening:

- The Benefits of Active Listening by Rose Mathews, Pen & Pad, updated November 21, 2016. The benefits discussed in this article are: (1) "Avoid Misunderstandings," (2) "Build Relationships," (3) "Improve Productivity," and (4) "Overcome isagreement."

- 3 reasons why active listening is a must-have skill, on SEEK, a career advice site based in Australia. The reasons discussed here are: (1) "Earn the trust and respect of your peers," (2) "Understand issues and formulate better solutions," and (3) "Active listening can help you diffuse conflict."

(The above links and summaries are copied from my page about active listening.)


_________________
- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- Longterm visions for the autistic community


Last edited by Mona Pereth on 11 Apr 2021, 12:30 am, edited 2 times in total.

kitesandtrainsandcats
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 May 2016
Age: 57
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,114
Location: Missouri

10 Apr 2021, 10:14 pm

Fortunately for me, the regularly attending core members of our local creative writers group understand that I will close my eyes when they read so that all the visual stimulus will be knocked out and I can focus on what is being read.

And a couple of them have done it from time to time and said that even as non-autistics they can tell it makes a difference.


_________________
"There are a thousand things that can happen when you go light a rocket engine, and only one of them is good."
Tom Mueller of SpaceX, in Air and Space, Jan. 2011


Mona Pereth
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 62
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,511
Location: New York City (Queens)

10 Apr 2021, 10:47 pm

kitesandtrainsandcats wrote:
Fortunately for me, the regularly attending core members of our local creative writers group understand that I will close my eyes when they read so that all the visual stimulus will be knocked out and I can focus on what is being read.

I'm glad to hear that they understand this.

kitesandtrainsandcats wrote:
And a couple of them have done it from time to time and said that even as non-autistics they can tell it makes a difference.

That's even better! Allistics learning a thing or two from us!


_________________
- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- Longterm visions for the autistic community


Mona Pereth
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 62
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,511
Location: New York City (Queens)

10 Apr 2021, 10:50 pm

ZipRecruiter's tutorial Active Listening: A Key Professional Skill doesn't contain any of the nonsense about eye contact and body language.

It sums up the "active listening" methodology as follows:

- Pay close attention to your conversation partner.
- Ask clarifying and probing questions.
- Rephrase or summarize to check your understanding.
- Wait until your partner is done speaking to respond.

The remainder of the article elaborates on these, plus a few other things. For example, it also suggests the use of "minimal encouragers," such as "And?" "Mm-hmm," "Oh?" "Then?" and "Uh-huh" when listening.

Also the article mentions that pauses can be fine: "Silence is an underrated aspect of active listening and communication in general. Honor the natural lapses and pauses in conversations. It gives both you and your conversation partner the space to think and process your thoughts."

As for the third item in the outline, "Rephrase or summarize to check your understanding," the article mentions two variants of this: (1) Simply re-state the actual content of what the other person says. ("Paraphrase shorter statements and summarize longer or more complex thoughts.") (2) "Reflect," i.e. focus on the speaker's underlying feelings, rather than the content.

The second of these is likely to be more difficult for many of us. Many autistic people are alexithymic to at least some degree, i.e. have difficulty with naming feelings. Others may have difficulty naming the other person's feelings in a way that comes across as truly sympathetic rather than patronizing.

So, for many of us, it may be safest to stick with the first kind of paraphrasing, with focus on the content, interspersed with occasional expressions of sympathy as appropriate, without necessarily trying to name the other person's specific emotions.


_________________
- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- Longterm visions for the autistic community


Mona Pereth
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 62
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,511
Location: New York City (Queens)

11 Apr 2021, 1:47 am

A website called "Skills You Need" includes a set of pages about active listening. The introductory/main page on this topic starts off with the usual yucky nonverbal stuff, on the grounds that "As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening - otherwise the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener."

Yet that section of the page ends as follows:

Quote:
Be Aware That:

It is perfectly possible to learn and mimic non-verbal signs of active listening and not actually be listening at all.

It is more difficult to mimic verbal signs of listening and comprehension.

Anyhow, we then finally get to the verbal stuff, which is the only part that I endorse (at least for the most part).

The first part of the verbal stuff is "Positive Reinforcement" -- what the previously-discussed ZipRecruiter site calls "minimal encouragers." These should be used sparingly -- too much is annoying.

Next is "Remembering." For long or detailed discussions, this is difficult without taking some notes. The "Skills You Need" site has a page on effective note-taking.

The next three items are "Questioning," "Reflection," and "Clarification," with tutorial pages for each of these topics, where "Clarification" seems to overlap with both "Questioning" and "Reflection."

It appears that these tutorial pages may have originally been written separately, for different purposes, and then thrown together later as parts of a larger tutorial on active listening. In some ways they appear to contradict each other. For example, the tutorial on "Reflecting" says "It is very difficult to resist the temptation to ask questions...." However, in the context of the active listening methodology, reflection is supposed to be used in conjunction with asking questions; the latter is not a "temptation" to be resisted -- at least up to a point, although asking too many questions could be annoying.

Anyhow, on the main "Active Listening" page, after the three paragraphs on "Questioning," "Reflection," and "Clarification," there is a final paragraph on "Summarisation" -- which overlaps heavily with "Reflection."

So the outline, on the main "Active Listening" tutorial page, isn't very well-factored.

Despite these glitches, the individual tutorial pages are worth reading and thinking about.

By the way, the "Skills You Need" site uses the term "Reflection" (or "reflecting") to refer to all kinds of paraphrasing, both content-oriented and feelings-oriented, whereas some other websites use the term "Reflection" to refer only to the latter.


_________________
- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- Longterm visions for the autistic community