The Power of Active Listening

Hello there folks,

Listen...Yes listen! Listening is is one of the highest forms of respect you can give someone...

One of the most important skills I teach in my courses is the power of Active Listening. Aside from the benefits of building connection and rapport with the others, when done well Active Listening can also be used to effectively interrupt the speaker and reduce your frustration if they are monopolizing, derailing or are emotionally upset.

Read on to find out more.

Happy partnering!


The 3 step approach to active listening:

Step 1: Non-verbal signals: nodding, eye contact and verbal acknowledgements: ahuh, ya, I see, ok, got it (over their words). Step 2: When they stop speaking summarize what you heard them say: “If I understood… is that correct?” Step 3: Invite them to continue speaking and finally redirect with a question or suggestion.

The 4 step approach to active interruption:

Step 1: Non-verbal signals: nodding, eye contact and verbal acknowledgements: ahuh, ya, I see, ok, got it (over their words). Step 2: Interrupting by: saying their name with a downward inflection then pause. When done effectively the speaker will stop for 1 second, so be ready to jump in and move to the next step. Step 3: Summarize what you heard them say: “If I understood… is that correct?” Step 4: Finally redirect with a question or suggestion.

The key to success:

I don’t know about you, often in conversations I’m so busy thinking about what I want to say in response that I’m not always fully listening to the other person. By making myself summarize what the other has said, it forces me to listen more carefully. If the person was upset I see the other person calm down quicker and often become more open to my point of view! When to summarize:

* When you want to build rapport

* When you need to buy time

* When you need to interrupt effectively (and only interrupt if there is a reason e.g. time pressure, want to clarify what you heard)

* When you are about to disagree or give bad news

Check out my web page for more tips on active listening and communication skills:

Feel free to share your thoughts or any ‘ah ha’ moments you have from this blog via email, Facebook , Twitter and Instagram

And now for a bit of inspiration, here is a link to a short video with Kevin Sharer, CEO of Amgen, about how learning to listen actively has made him a much more successful leader:

This Month's Success Story:

Actions speak louder than words, and we just love sharing the successes that our clients get by using the Predator, Prey, Partner techniques.

Dear Amy,

It rarely happens these days that a training session is so engaging - it is not easy to surprise us (and our egos!). You are a brilliant coach and lecturer Amy!

My team gave me some strange looks this afternoon when I jumped into the office and started telling them about the content of your training session, with a lot of excitement. They didn't know what was in store over the next few days! Some of them have already read your book. We will continue having fun in the office by banning the word 'but', using pauses, 'thank you' instead of 'sorry', gestures and controlling voice volume.

From my perspective, also as a Speaker, I was absolutely delighted to having been coached by you - I am a tiny bit wiser now and have more tools in my toolbox to use when I am on the stage next time. Yes, you were right by saying that it's going to be painful for us to actually admit to our mistakes when watching other lecturers’ behavior on stage. It’s true!

Thank you for your effortless ability to create a wonderful atmosphere within the team and inspire all of us!

I am looking forward to our 'coaching' phone call. Meanwhile, let me wish you luck with your coaching in other parts of the world!

Yours sincerely,

Giedre Geciauskiene

Danske bank A/S Lithuania branch

Head of Markets Lithuania

* The Predator Prey or Partner™ model is a licensed content created by Pat Kirkland of Pat Kirkland Leadership Inc. Founded in 1990, PKL ( is a company with a purpose, the "soul" purpose of creating a world that works together better. Its business mission is to offer practical, powerful communication programs teaching people how to transform their work relationships by changing how they communicate.

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