Active Listening

Embracing Difference

This example shows how I embrace differences between others via active listening and positive communication. I respect diverse perspectives and the ways those perspectives influence communication as well as adapt my communication in a different cultural context.

Active Listening

One semester I had two classes with an older lady. In both classes she and I were in a group project together. At times we encountered challenges due to our generational differences, whether it was because of our differing uses of technology or our way of communicating. However, we learned how to work together, combining our strengths and skills to do our projects. Through these experiences, we developed a friendship and one day she came to me and expressed frustration she was experiencing by trying to do an online assignment.

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Technology is Daunting Sometimes

Because she was frustrated, she felt discouraged and upset about having to do the assignment. I offered to help her with the technology to do the online assignment. As we were working, there were three moments in which she said she was quitting for the day and couldn’t do it. This discouraged her even further and she began to emotionally tell me about the frustrations that led up to this. At this time, I simply listened to her, seeking to understand what had happened and what I could do to help her. Eventually, we got the assignment completed, but her primary need was to be listened to, not hurried along and told what to do for the assignment. She thanked me repeatedly the next day and apologized for her emotional reaction to the situation. This was a time when I was able to understand her perspective and adapt the way I communicated with her in order to meet her needs.

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