Listen to Understand



Are you listening to understand? Listen to the other person to fully understand their point of view. Put aside your assumptions. Step out of your story and into learner mode to enhance your understanding.

How to do it:

  1. Listen to learn, rather than with an intent to fix, judge, or even reply.
  2. Show empathy. Whether or not you agree, demonstrate awareness of the other person's feelings and emotions.
  3. Summarize your understanding. Restate what you've heard to ensure you are understanding and to make sure you haven't missed anything. 

Here are some options of what you can say.

Listen to learn:

  • "Help me understand..."
  • "Tell me more about that."
  • "When you say ________, what does that mean?

Show empathy:

  • "That sounds [emotion]..."
  • "I'm sorry to hear that. it must be [emotion]..."
  • "Sounds like this has been [emotion]."

Summarize your understanding:

  • "What I hear you saying is..."
  • "Do I have that right?
  • "Is there anything else?"


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