Active listening is not just about taking information in and processing it. It is also about our physical demeanour and body language. Egan (1986) devised five key component of active listening, known by the acronym SOLER:
Sit straight (this is important in conveying the message that ‘I am here with you.’)
Open posture (indicating openness to listening to anything the speaker chooses to share)
Lean forward (indicating an interest in the speakers words)
Eye contact (another way of expressing interest and reassurance)
Relax (a relaxed posture puts the speaker at ease).
By remembering SOLER, you can adopt an active listening approach with friends, family, and colleagues. Try it next time you are in a conversation.
Can you think of any other ways to show that you are actively listening?