We’ve all made the mistake of not listening, and it almost always gets us in trouble. When you are really listening, following through with active feedback will show the speaker you are fully engaged.
Active verbal feedback consists of paraphrasing, clarifying with questions, then sharing your reactions.
Actively avoiding distractions means ensuring the conversation takes place in as quiet a place as possible without phone, email, or human interruptions. Listening skills fuel our social, emotional and professional success, and studies prove that listening is a skill we can learn.
While the ideas are largely intuitive, it might take some practice to develop (or re-develop) the skills. As you work on developing your listening skills, you may feel a bit panicky when there is a natural pause in the conversation.


When they know you are paying attention, they can relax into their message, beginning the whole conversation on a better note. Make sure you hear the whole statement before making any judgments, and listen with empathy.
Easier said than done, but doing this will ease the whole interaction and allow you to absorb the message without confusion caused by interruptions. When you are able to catch yourself doing these things, you can then work on correcting these tendencies and avoiding them altogether in the future. Even if the speaker is launching a complaint against you, wait until they finish to defend yourself. Make sure you are aware of any mismatches between the words being said and the speaker’s tone of voice, emphasis, facial expressions, and posture. When we listen, we foster the skill in others by acting as a model for positive and effective communication.


If your own thoughts keep horning in, simply let them go and continuously re-focus your attention on the speaker, much as you would during meditation. Using these techniques will help you see past the surface to the real message being conveyed. Research shows that, on average, we can hear four times faster than we can talk, so we have the ability to sort ideas as they come in…and be ready for more.
After you ask questions, paraphrase their point to make sure you didn’t misunderstand.



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