Communication skills are the most basic but also important skills anyone need, especially for the counselling professions. This essay will look at two of these specific skills and how it impacts on one of the most seen counselling professions, the Student Guidance Officers. These two skills will be active listening and rapport building which will be defined and described while referring to a sample video of the Student Guidance profession.
The Skill of Active Listening
Active listening, as opposed to listening, is when the listener tries to understand the speaker by contributing to the conversation. This means that the receiver of the message also needs to ask some questions in order to make sure that the message they received was what the sender sent. Whilst different research poses different definitions for this skill, most definitions composes of three elements (Weger, Castle, & Emmett, 2010). As shown by Levitt (2001), one of the elements to this skill is the expressing of non-verbal involvement as an indicator to the speaker that the listener is listening. The second element of active listening is the non-judgemental paraphrasing of the speaker’s messages into the listener’s own words (Trenholm & Jensen, 2004). The last element, as stated by Devito (2007), is the encouragement of elaboration through asking questions by the listener. This skill connects the listener to the speaker by building empathy and trust which can be achieved through confirming the speaker’s messages. This skill may also benefit the speaker as by reflecting the message without judgment it helps the speaker in understanding their own thinking and mind (Weger et al., 2010).
All elements for effective active listening were shown in the example video of an interview between a Student Guidance Officer and a student. The first element of non-verbal involvement is the use of body language to convey a message of ‘yes, I am listening.’ These body languages may include nodding, the change of facial expression as according to the messages conveyed by the speaker or the absence of body language such as twitching or playing with items which could show the speaker the lack of attention. This element was demonstrated in the video where the Student Guidance Officer nodded when the student spoke. The second element of active listening composes of paraphrasing the speaker’s message in order to confirm the message; this was shown towards the end of the interview where the Student Guidance Officer paraphrased the messages regarding the student’s reasons for the performances of his art subjects. The last element of encouraging the speaker to elaborate can be done through asking the speaker questions regarding specific aspects of their speech. This can be seen throughout the video sometimes combined with the paraphrasing element.
The use of the listening skill is very useful to the profession of Student Guidance Officers due to several reasons. Firstly, it conveys the...