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Developing Listening Skills

By KSU Counseling Services Staff

Preview Points

  • "Active listening" refers to a focused aspect of good communications for the accurate decoding of messages.
  • Messages usually contain a "feeling" and a "fact" part, and both need to be understood for proper decoding.
  • Active listening conveys the message of listener interest.


Active listening enables the other side to fully communicate his / her message, without "noise" or extraneous information that may distort the message.


  1. Prepare for the discussion.
  2. Slow down.
  3. Use some encouragers to show that you're listening. These may be short phrases like "um hmm," "go on," and others.
  4. Ask open-ended questions.
  5. Be clear about your own posture or stance.
  6. Reflect and clarify.
  7. Summarize.

Concluding Points

  • Active listening actually hears the others.
  • It is an engaged listening that brings both cognition and affect, the mind and emotion.
  • Active listening shows respect to others.

© All staff articles are used by permission of the respective author(s). Copyright belongs to the University Life Café. No part of this may be used without authorization.

Developing Listening Skills (pdf)