What is active listening.

Over the last week, I received some interesting feedback related to active listening. So i decided to document my new journey towards improvement in active listening. 

To me active listening meant listening to someone speaking to you while actively letting the other person be aware that he/she was being listened to. Unfortunately I found in preliminary research that this is not true at all. According to Wikipedia, 

Active Listening is a methodology used between two parties where the listener provides speaker feedback about what they hear either by paraphrasing or restating the conversation, so that a common understanding is established between the two parties. 

While this is close to what I expected, the nuances of restating  facts rather than just a 'aha' or 'mmmm' was important while i completely overlooked the condition that both parties need to move away with a common understanding of the subject. 

As I traced back to conversations, I realized that I did care about what people said but took it for granted that they realized I was completely involved in the conversation. While both parties may have walked away from the discussion with a common understanding of the problem, it still did happen that the other party walked away with an understanding that I was not actively involved in the conversation. Though a nuance, this is a recipe for disaster and even distrust. 

So how do we resolve this?  There are many ways as I understand but I will try them out one by one and make sure I document the journey on this blog.