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Reflective Listening

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Reflective listening is a powerful communication tool that involves actively paying attention to what someone is saying and then restating or paraphrasing their message to show that you understand their perspective. This technique is designed to promote understanding and build trust between people, and it can be an effective way to resolve misunderstandings and conflicts.

When we engage in reflective listening, we demonstrate to the other person that we value their thoughts and feelings and try to understand where they are coming from. This can create a safe, open communication atmosphere and help build stronger relationships. Reflective listening involves paying attention to words and emotions, requiring us to listen deeply and empathetically.

To practice reflective listening, focusing on the other person and what they say is crucial rather than thinking about what you will say next. This means putting aside distractions or interruptions and fully engaging in the conversation. You can show that you are actively listening by maintaining eye contact, nodding your head, and using nonverbal cues such as facial expressions to show that you are engaged in the conversation.

It is also helpful to paraphrase or restate what the other person has said to show that you understand their perspective. This can be as simple as saying, "So, what I'm hearing you say is that you feel frustrated because you don't feel like you have enough support at work." By reflecting on what the other person has said, you demonstrate that you have listened to them and are trying to understand their perspective.

In addition to paraphrasing, it can also be helpful to ask clarifying questions to further understand the other person's perspective. This can involve asking questions such as, "Could you tell me more about how you feel in this situation?" or "Can you give me an example of what you mean?" By asking these questions, you demonstrate that you are interested in understanding the other person's perspective and open to hearing more about their thoughts and feelings.

There are many benefits to using reflective listening in our communication with others. It can help build trust, improve relationships, and resolve misunderstandings and conflicts effectively. By demonstrating that we are actively listening and trying to understand the other person's perspective, we can create a safe and open communication atmosphere and strengthen our connections.


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