Active Listening

by | Oct 3, 2019

Active listening builds relationships, sorts out problems, creates deeper understanding and resolves conflict.

Listening well builds TRUST and makes people feel SAFE. 

Active listening requires you to be patient and to; 

  • Concentrate 
  • Keep an open mind
  • Seek to understand 
  • Respond
  • Recall

To be an active listener you need to decode the verbal message and interpret the non-verbal message too.

Non -verbal clues that you can give, to show that you are listening;

  • Maintain eye contact
  • Nod your head occasionally
  • Incline your body towards the speaker
  • Relax your posture

Whilst you are listening try to;

  • Stay focused and not interrupt 
  • Silence your own internal dialogues 
  • Ask questions to check for understanding and clarify if you need to
  • Feel the message as well as hear it


Barriers to listening 

  • Noise 
  • Attention span
  • Unconscious bias
  • Apprehension about the content or the speaker 
  • Time pressure
  • Interruptions from you or others 


And finally!

Bringing it all together to demonstrate that you have listened; 

  • Paraphrase
  • Affirm 
  • Ask open questions 
  • Focus on the details 
  • Summarise 
  • Ask others in the team for their thoughts
  • Make links 
  • Plan the next steps

Vanessa is a very experienced HR Professional with a career spanning over 30 years. Prior to setting up Imago HR she worked for many years as a senior HR leader, providing a compassionate and pragmatic approach to people management. Click on her website to find out more about the Imago HR service