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by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Communication, Make It Happen TipsheetTagged as: , ,

If you are in a meeting, and the speaker seems to be repeating themselves, is it their fault… or yours? While it is true that communication is tough, could it be that they are repeating themselves because they “see” that you aren’t listening? They reason – sometimes subconsciously – that repetition brings retention.

To signal other meeting participants that you are in tune with the conversation requires active listening. And in those cases when you begin tuning out, active listening skills will get you back on track.

Active listening both increases your connection with the subject matter under discussion, and increases the speaker’s confidence, both in  themselves and in you. It is a key skill for professional success, whether you are listening to your your colleagues, doing business development, or negotiating a contract.

While most people already know how to do this, they sometimes don’t recognize all of the different cues that are available. Here are a few:

  • Sit up straight in your chair – don’t slouch, lean to the side, or recline.
  • Take notes as you listen – but keep your eye on the speaker
  • Ask meaningful questions
  • Incorporate the speaker’s points into your next comment
  • Interject with “yes”, “mmmm”, “ok”
  • Use your body language to acknowledge their points: nod, smile, etc.
  • Summarize your understanding of the conversation
  • Summarize any mutual action items


Active listening isn’t just something you do – it’s something that everyone should do. If you don’t feel that your colleagues, friends, or family are actively listening to you, give them some gentle feedback – or send them this tipsheet. Not only will they learn how to actively listen, but they’ll learn how to actively listen to you.

Bonus insight: It is a sad fact that many speakers are ill-prepared, unengaging, and just plain dull.  But this doesn’t take away your responsibility to be an active listener.

Does this topic resonate? Reach out to Randall: he can present it to your group.  (More presentation topics)
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