Listening to what another party is saying is an obvious way to learn more about their positions, interests, concerns, and fears.


Passive listening gives no sense that you are taking in what is being said or even paying attention.


Active listening is a conscious way of showing the other party that you are listening and paying close attention to what they are saying. Techniques such as positive body language, summarizing and paraphrasing serve to show the other party respect and that you have understood their message. This does not mean you agree with it. Rather, these techniques can set the stage for a good working relationship with the other party.


The following are examples of paraphrasing in active listening:

  • “It sounds like...”
  • “Do you mean...?”
  • “I guess...”
  • “In other words...”
  • “So, you’re saying...”