EYN#021 - 5 Practical Steps To Nail Your Active Listening

Feb 06, 2024
Ben yawning and someone looking at football scores on a phone.  The caption is

It turns out that grunting at your wife, whilst you scroll through the football scores on your phone, as she shares the important events of the day is not active listening.


Who knew!?!


Well most people really. But we still do it. Developing your Active Listening is such a valuable use of energy for both your personal and professional success.


Let's dig into it with less of marriage counselling approach, and more of a professional tech world approach.


Active Listening Benefits


  • Understand the needs of you stakeholders.
  • Build empathy, connections and relationships.
  •  Gain clarity on problems and challenges.
  •  Gather insight of what stakeholders hope to achieve.
  •  Achieve greater success.


To be successful you need to thrive with other humans. A skill that YOU CAN develop. Here's a quick guide to building your listening skills.


Actually Pay Attention


This is the foundation of all others. You need to actually pay attention, focus and concentrate. That can be tough in our hyper connected, hyper stimulated world.


Set yourself up for success. Remove some of the things that will hinder you. Like …

  • Phone notifications chirping every few minutes.
  • Chat messages and emails when on video calls. I can see you typing in chat
  •  A TV screen playing right in your eyeline.

Remove distractions and focus on the speaker.


Show Your Listening


Not only do you need to be actually listening, but you can actively show the person you're listening. Don't overdo it, but make eye contact, occasionally nod your head and make a few "uhuh" listening noises. It helps people know you're listening. Pay attention and outwardly show them you're listening.


Mirror The Energy


If someone is telling you something super exciting, they will be more animated in their delivery. Match that energy with the way you show you're listening.


If someone is telling you something very serious and heartfelt, grinning like a Cheshire cat and waving your hands like a loon doesn't help.


Mirror the energy that is being shared with you. It helps the speaker feel like you are on the same wavelength as them.




Ask pertinent questions at relevant times. It helps make the interaction into more of a conversation and less of a monologue. It shows people you are paying attention, it injects some energy and makes the speaker feel they're being heard.


Not only that, but it helps you get clarity on some of the finer details.



Hearing something, internalising it and playing it back really helps you remember and recall it. Not only does it help it sink it, it outwardly shows people that they have been heard and understood.


Say something like "Can I just play this back to you to make sure I understand it?", them briefly summarise what they’ve said.


Well there you go. A few simple steps to build your active listening skills.

  • Actually Pay Attention
  • Show Your Listening
  • Mirror The Energy
  • Clarify
  • Summarise


Hope this helps.




Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

  • Podcast:  The latest episode is "Speaking With Clarity" with Lidia Vasileva.  Check it out on the Elevated You website or on  Apple, Spotify and Google Podcasts.
  • Technical Storytelling Essentials: Accelerate your career, increase your impact and influence people.  Affordably priced, world-class course digital course for individuals.
  • Technical Storytelling for Organisations: Programs designed to increase the impact of your team.  Inspire, develop and motivate your team to influence key stakeholders and generate action with your customers.