If you’ve been to a play, then you know that switching off your phone is a must. Oftentimes, flash photography is banned as well. These basic guidelines help the performers stay focused and be in character. Similarly, in meetings and conferences, we often request people to put their gadgets away. It helps the speaker feel at ease and communicate effectively with their audience.

Another method that helps speakers feel confident about their delivery is reflective listening. You may not realize it but we engage in reflective listening quite often. Read on to learn more about different reflective listening skills and techniques.


  1. Meaning Of Reflective Listening

  2. Why Develop Reflective Listening Skills?

  3. Using Reflective Listening Techniques

  4. Practicing Reflective Listening Techniques

  5. Conclusion

Meaning Of Reflective Listening

Before we fast forward to reflective listening, let’s first understand what ‘reflecting’ means. It refers to the process of paraphrasing and restating both words and feelings of a speaker. Reflecting serves three primary purposes:

  • Allows speakers to focus on what they are saying and feeling

  • Encourages speakers to continue talking

  • Shows speakers that you’re understanding what they’re trying to convey and you’re seeing the world as they’re seeing it

In a nutshell, reflective listening means focusing completely on someone’s words and cues. Not only do you pay attention to what’s being spoken, you consider the body language and emotions of the speaker. The process includes empathy, rapport-building and making someone feel heard and seen. You’re not there to offer anything, simply to listen. Let’s look at these common examples of reflective listening to understand the concept better.

  • When someone delivers a business presentation or a seminar, you put your phone on silent; you maintain eye contact and nod your head to show that you’re listening

  • During feedback sessions, you listen to what your manager or coworker has to say; you don’t intervene, you let them have the stage

  • When disagreements arise, effective communicators listen more than they speak; they avoid using emotionally charged words and approach the situation objectively

Why Develop Reflective Listening Skills?

Reflective listening skills are beneficial for several situations. In social situations, it can help individuals feel safe in your presence. Especially in the workplace, excellent communication skills are instrumental in problem-solving, conflict management and having difficult conversations. Some of the other benefits include

  • It helps the speaker feel valued, cared for and supported

  • It helps you stay focused and pay attention to the finer details of the conversation

  • It allows you to avoid the illusion of understanding and listen actively

  • It helps you identify the issue or problem raised and clarify what you’re supposed to do

  • It helps the speaker think clearly and articulate their positions efficiently

Using Reflective Listening Techniques

The goal of reflective listening is to increase mutual understanding. Consider these two techniques while working on your reflective listening skills.

  1. Mirroring

A simple process, mirroring involves repeating almost exactly what a speaker says. It shows that you’re trying to understand the speaker and it also acts as a prompt to continue speaking. However, don’t mirror someone excessively as it ruins the natural flow of a conversation.

  1. Paraphrasing

This technique not only shows that you’re listening to the speaker but also shows you’re attempting to understand them. When you summarize conversations, it helps others feel heard and valued.

Practicing Reflective Listening Techniques

Reflective listening sounds like a simple activity but it takes practice and skill to master. Here are some simple yet effective practices to follow.

  • Listen more than you talk

  • Allow speakers to complete their train of thoughts without interrupting

  • Try to actively remember important facts of points raised by the speaker

  • Note down any relevant details—it helps to pay attention as well as in recalling important information later

  • Even if the speaker raises any points that don’t align with your thoughts and perceptions, keep an open mind and respond with empathy and acceptance


Reflection in communication is crucial and it’s an important interpersonal skill. Harappa’s Listening Actively course will teach you how to overcome different barriers of listening and pay attention to others. The EAR of Listening framework will guide you in developing empathy, authenticity and respect while communicating. The Listening Climate framework will equip you with the best practices for improving your listening skills. Enhance your communication skills and connect with your coworkers like never before!

Explore topics such as Active ListeningTypes of Listening, What is Empathic Listening, Understanding the Listening Process & Listening Barriers from Harappa Diaries and develop skills to become a better listener.

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