In this assignment, you will learn about and practice the skill of effective listening. To do this, you will listen not only with your ears but also with your eyes and body. You will begin to understand the importance of posture and eye contact to the active listening process by practicing this skill and critically analyzing your experience of this practice.

A common acronym among the helping professions for practicing effective listening is S.O.L.E.R. This stands for the following:

  • Squarely face the person.
  • Open your posture.
  • Lean toward the sender.
  • Eye contact maintained.
  • Relax while attending.


It would be a good idea to review the basic attending skills video before you begin this assignment. After you have completed the attending skills video exercises, practice the SOLER skills described above with a partner at home or work. You are to engage in a fifteen-minute conversation where you are primarily the listener. Practice each of the S.O.L.E.R skills. Ask your partner for feedback on how this conversation was different from other conversations you have had with him or her. Next, switch roles. Introduce the concept of S.O.L.E.R to your partner and have him or her try it with you. See what you can observe and compare it to your experience as the listener. The attending skills video has some examples of this type of conversation and follow-up feedback session that should help you better understand what you are being asked to do. Post this feedback and your experience of the conversation to the Discussion Area.

In your response, answer the following questions:

  • Which one of the S.O.L.E.R skills was the most difficult and why?
  • What were the greatest obstacles to listening you found in the exercise? Why?
  • How were your observations and experiences reflective of or contrary to research on active listening that you have found in professional literature?
  • How might you improve your listening skills going forward?

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