Workshop on Active Listening

Mash Project Foundation organised a workshop about “Active listening“ on 16th august, 2020. The speaker for the session was Ms. Vishwa Modi. She is a mental health therapist at The Mood Space.
It was an interactive session focussed on mental health where she shared her learnings and experiences and discussed the problems which participants have faced. She focussed on identifying and discussing the importance of active listening in the day to day life. 
At the onset of the session, everyone introduced themselves and then Mr. Aashish Beergi, CEO and Founder, MASH Project Foundation introduced the organisation and its outlook. Post that Vishwa started the session with a question about the difference between listening and hearing. She highlighted that people often use these words interchangeably and listening requires voluntary attention unlike hearing. Further, she discussed the types of listening- appreciative listening, empathetic listening, comprehensive listening and critical listening. Vishwa said the responsibility of the listener is to show the keenness in the speaker and the speech by his expressions, alertness and by asking questions about the speech, if required.  
Vishwa told about the traits of a good listener: one should be non evaluative, reflects implications and hidden feelings, invites further contribution, responds non-verbally and paraphrasing. Then, she asked the reason for distraction and discussed how to deal with distraction and suggested a few ways to avoid it. Further, she emphasized on the implications of good listening that goes a long way such as it harbours negative feelings, improves working condition and morale of the organisation.  
Following are some critical tips laid down by Ms. Vishwa Modi on effective listening that help in the long run.  
  • Evaluate the speech, not the speaker
  • Be morally prepared to listen 
  • Be open minded 
  • Paraphrase from time to time 
  • Fight distraction by closing off sound sources 
  • Ask questions to clarify doubts and corroborate thoughts 
  • Send appropriate non-verbal signals from time to time  
  • Pay too much attention to the accessories and clothing of the speaker
  • Prepare your response while the speaker is speaking 
  • Avoid preconception and prejudices. 
  • Concentrate too hard 
  • Interrupt too much 
Before ending the session, she talked about Mood space which is an affordable e-counselling platform that aims to support individuals dealing with stress, anxiety and depression and other mental health related concerns.
The session ended with some follow up questions from the participants regarding mental health and Vishwa summarised the session with a key takeaway that there are 3 A’s of listening – attitude, attention and adjustment that one should always remember.

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