Communicating effectively involves not only speaking well, but listening well, too. Active-listening tools, such as those in the following list, help you hold up your end of a successful conversation or discussion.

  • Concentrate on what the speaker has to say.

  • Listen for content and emotion to understand the entire message.

  • Maintain steady eye contact so speakers know your attention is with them.

  • Reflect back with verbal feedback to confirm your understanding of the message.

  • Stay patient when people talk to you.

  • Keep your tone sincere and nonjudgmental when you listen.

  • When you give feedback to check understanding, do so in one sentence.

  • Tune into how the message is being said, not just what the words are.

  • Acknowledge feelings that are important to the message you’re hearing.

  • Make your goal in conversations to show understanding of what the speaker truly means.