Newhouse Ph.D. student Greg Munno co-led a workshop at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs this past weekend on reflective listening and other interpersonal conflict management strategies. Greg got his Executive Master’s of Public Administration from the Maxwell School, along with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Conflict Resolution, in 2010.
Reflective listening — also referred to as active listening — is essentially the practice of giving the speaker your full attention. Then, when it becomes your turn to speak, you refrain from expressing your own view or taking the conversation in a different direction. Instead, you re-frame what the speaker said.
The re-framing is the art of the practice. It should demonstrate that you understand and respect the speaker without parroting them. The practice have been shown to reduce emotion and create the conditions for a more constructive conversation.
Greg has been wanting to develop a course on conflict management for mass communication professionals. As a reporter, he found tools such as reflective listening essential to maximizing the information gleaned from an interview, and as an editor, he found it extremely helpful in managing reporters. Likewise, the practice is great for teaching, be it way for dealing with an emotional distraught student, or for helping both student and professor understand why a student may be having difficulty with a certain subject matter.