How to practice reflective listening?

Reflective listening, also known as empathic listening, seeks to understand others. As Steven Covey highlights, we must first understand others, before being understood.

Listen closely to what is being said and how it is said.

After listening to others (usually in a one-to-one or a small group conversation), you could say any of the followings:

  1. Wow!

  2. Tell me more (use please if necessary)

  3. Share with me

  4. What happened next?

  5. Thank you for sharing.

  6. You’re feeling … because … (affirm feelings and values)

  7. It sounds like you really value …

  8. Please correct me if I’m wrong, I hear you saying …

  9. You think that …

  10. From your perspective …

  11. The part I understand is …

You can summarize what s/he said, using your own words.

You can also parrot what s/he just said, in a gently-questioning tone.

Reflective listening encourage others to share more, because often people only say 10% of an iceberg of thoughts and feelings.

Personally, I love to compliment others. If s/he tends to be suspicious of compliments, then compliment only in very appropriate situations. Not to worry, most people love to be complimented.

To reflectively listen, do your best to withold judging and/or giving advice / solutions to problems.




  1. […] a good listener: (i) let others talk (ii) encourage others to talk about […]


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