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Active Listening

Effective facilitators are also good listeners. Active listening is especially useful during Q & A sessions. It requires concentration because you are not only listening to the verbal message, but also paying attention to the underlying emotion expressed by the person who is speaking. This part of the message is often reflected in the tone of the person’s voice or inflection, as well as in nonverbal messages, such as facial expression and gestures. This underlying message usually reflects the true meaning of what is being expressed. An example is the audience member, with a confused expression on her face, saying, “Sure, I think I understand what you are talking about.” In this situation, the look of confusion indicates she clearly doesn’t.

Think About This

When answering a question that has some relevance for the entire group, start by establishing eye contact with the person asking the question, then continue by responding to and making eye contact with the rest of the audience. Remember, unless the answer to a question is only specific to the questioner, think of questions as opportunities to provide information to the entire group, not just one person.



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