Reflective Listening

Reflection is a beneficial tool in many different ways. Reflecting on your own performance using a reflective log is one. Another tool that is useful in conversation is reflective listening.

Reflective listening is a communication strategy that involves two key steps: listening to and reflecting back the emotions and feelings of the speaker, whether they are positive or negative. This technique allows the listener to truly understand the speaker’s perspective and gives the speaker the opportunity to feel heard and understood.

The Importance of Reflective Listening

Reflective listening is a crucial skill in both personal and professional relationships. It fosters understanding, builds trust, and strengthens interpersonal bonds. In professional settings, it can aid in problem-solving, conflict resolution, and team building.

How to Practice Reflective Listening

Step 1: Active Listening

Active listening involves giving your full attention to the speaker. Avoid distractions, maintain eye contact, and refrain from interrupting. Pay attention to the speaker’s body language and non-verbal cues, which can provide insight into their feelings and emotions.

Step 2: Reflecting

After listening, reflect back what you’ve heard to the speaker. This can be done by paraphrasing their words or expressing understanding of their feelings. For example, if the speaker seems upset about a recent event, you might say, “It sounds like that was a really challenging experience for you.”

The Benefits of Reflective Listening

Reflective listening can lead to deeper, more meaningful conversations. It allows the speaker to feel validated and heard, and it shows the listener’s empathy and understanding. It can also prevent misunderstandings and miscommunications, as reflecting allows for clarification of thoughts and feelings.


Reflective listening is a powerful tool for effective communication. By practicing active listening and reflection, we can create more empathetic and understanding interactions in both our personal and professional lives. Remember, the goal of reflective listening isn’t to provide advice or solutions, but rather to understand the speaker’s perspective and emotions.