Giving your physical and psychological attention to another person in a communication situation.

Components include:


“Eye contact is one way of indicating interest in the other person, because the eyes are one of the key modes of communication. This does not mean that eye contact must be a fixed stare. If you are honestly interested and at ease, you will look naturally at the other person throughout the communication. Another element of contact is the distance between yourself and the other person. It is important to base this on the comfort level of the other person. some experimentation is usually necessary before two people discover the most comfortable distance between themselves.”


“A great deal is communicated by body movements. If you become fidgety, drum your fingers, cross your arms, or sneak glances at your watch while listening, you may be conveying an unintended message to the other person. The key is to only use gestures consistent with what is being communicated.”


“The environment, or setting, should support the communication. A space which promotes privacy for undisturbed conversation is essential. Consider removing barriers between yourself and the person you are listening to (such as a large table that comes between you, a car door you might be leaning on, or a crowd that happens to surround you at the moment). If that is not possible, choose an alternate space or a more appropriate time to communicate.”

Interested Silence:

“A period of active, attentive silence serves as a gentle nudge to the other to move deeper into the conversation. It allows the other time to think and reflect and then comfortably proceed at his or her own pace. The speaker may pause and you, the listener, can attend without having to say anything. Giving the speaker time to experience and explore the feelings that churn up from within often enables him or her to explore their feelings at a deeper level. Silence is particularly useful in situations of loss or grief, such as the death of a loved one or a significant personal loss. Appropriate silence is useful in helping the other talk about a difficult problem.”

Information taken from here.