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Active Listening

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” ― Epictetus

Why do we listen?​ To get information, to understand, to learn, and most importantly to influence. Research suggests that we only remember 25-50%  of what we hear, as described by Edgar Dale's Cone of Experience. There are three levels of listenings: 

  • Level 1: Listening to impress 

  • Level 2: Listening to learn 

  • Level 3: Listening the understand


As part of being a good communicator, you have to be a good active listener — which is a simple technique that makes people feel heard. Here are some tips to be a good active listener: 

Let people finish their thought-process

  • Avoid finishing other people's sentences

  • Don't interrupt 
  • Spend more time listening than talking 

Pay attention to what people are saying

  • Listen for non-verbal cues such as body language

  • Make eye contact, face the speaker, nod occasionally, etc.  

  • Don't jump to conclusions or judgments or prepare for rebuttal

After people are done talking

  • Reframe what the others say to make sure you understand them correctly

  • Ask a lot of questions, and do not answer questions with questions 

  • Think about your response after the person is done speaking

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