Reflective Listening

An empathic communication tool that helps people feel understood

Reflective listening involves actively listening, then repeating back the essence of what someone has said so that they feel heard and understood for what is important to them

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What is reflective listening?

Reflective listening is a variant of active listening which requires a response from the listener. The listener pays full attention to the speaker, then when the speaker pauses, repeats back the essence of what they’ve heard. 

If it’s new to you and you find it hard, the easiest way to start is by repeating the actual words that the person said. As you get more confident, it will start to feel more natural to reflect the content in your own words, and to pick out what was most meaningful to the other person from what they said.

More skilled practitioners who have experience of techniques like Non-Violent Communication may also focus on reflecting the feelings and needs of the speaker, rather than merely repeating back the content.

Reflective listening is useful when you want to be sure there is clear understanding. It also helps to promote empathy, both for the speaker, who can feel connection and care when they feel sure that they’ve been understood, and for the listener, who has to pause in their own response to ensure that they’ve fully captured the other person’s perspective. It is also useful for conflict resolution.

  • Appreciative / Community building
  • Awareness Raising
  • Conflict resolution
  • Decision making
  • Empowerment
  • Group communication
  • Integration of input into daily life
  • Mindfulness & Meditation
  • Problem Solving
  • Reflection
  • Social skills
  • Team Building / Trust Building
Innovation Phases
    Train the Trainer seminars including Reflective Listening can be found here: