Book Definition: A person who gives the speaker feedback in such forms as nodding, paraphrasing, maintaining an expression that shows interest, and asking questions for clarification.

History (Optional)


Five steps to attentive listening:
Squarely face the person
Open your posture
Lean towards the sender
Eye contact maintained
Relax while attending

Active listening is about focusing on the person who is speaking. An active listener needs to focus full attention on the person who is speaking.


In Your Own Words


  • Active listening is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding.
  • A listener who is really involved in the conversation; they listen in a responsive manner, making it clear to the speaker that their attention is undivided.
  • An active listener should not give advice but rather listen and help their friend reach their own solutions by sorting through their thoughts.
  • Being a person who won't judge on what the other person has to say and reassuring that person as well.
  • A person listening to someone else, and making it obvious they are listening and understand what is being used.

Examples/Functions

  • Paraphrasing what the person says when responding to their thoughts (mirroring).
  • Devotes their full attention to the patient, making sure they are responding appropriately to help support them.
  • Using opened questions to expand the discussion.
  • When parents listen actively, they send children the message that they are important enough to have the parent's undivided attention.
  • Listening to someone, without interrupting with your personal input.
  • Ignoring any distractions while talking with a person, so they have your full attention.
  • Nods and asks questions while listening.
  • Acting interested in what the person has to say.
  • Giving the speaker their chance to speak and responding showing you understand what they said along with your view.


Additional Resources

http://www.colorado.edu/conflict/peace/example/pers6815.htm ( story about an active listener)
http://www.studygs.net/listening.htm