Listening to


Definition of Active Listening

Advantages of Listening to Understand

Steps for Listening to Understand

  1. Attend to the speaker with “Attending” Behaviors.
  2. Think about the message.
  3. Demonstrate understanding using a Sub-skill Response.
  4. Start process again.

“Attending” Behaviors

“Attending” Behaviors are verbal and non-verbal behaviors displayed by the listener that communicate that the listener is paying attention to and is interested in the speaker’s message.


Sub-skill Responses

Sub-skill Responses are verbal statements made by the listener that are intended to confirm, clarify, review or restate the information sent by the speaker and/or the feelings behind the information.

Sub-Skill Responses include:

Clarifying statements: Help to clear up any confusing parts of the speaker’s message; are usually phrased in question form.


Paraphrasing statements: Use the listener’s words to restate the main ideas of the message.


Reflecting statements: Help focus the speaker on the feelings behind the content of the message.


Summarizing statements: Tie together multiple ideas expressed by the speaker to help focus the speaker’s thoughts.