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  • Alejandro Buriel

Active Listening. Tips for good listening

One of the competences that both successful senior executives and professional Executive Coaches share is Active Listening.

Whether in business or in your personal life, a lot can be gained by learning when to forget everything and fully engage in listening to others.

Active listening involves paying attention in every way. Don´t look at your phone, don´t check your e-mails in your computer, have some paper and a pen in case you want to take some notes and don´t play with any objects in your hands while you are listening. To build trust and better relationships is better to focus in "the quality of the time" that you devote to other people "than the quantity".

Focus in your body language and pay attention with all of it, facing the person you are talking with. If possible, make it closer by removing the desk between you both or choosing a location where you can sit next to the person you are talking with.

Paraphrase what the other person tells you from time to time with your own words summarizing several points, to make sure that what you are understanding is the same they are trying to express. Also to let them know that you are listening attentively because you care about them. This will build "rapport" very easily.

Listen to understand, not to reply instantly. Imagine that you want to repeat latter to other people what the person is telling you now, pay that kind of attention. Trust and respect are built over the foundations of honest interest to know and understand others and genuine caring for other peoples´ interests. A good listener has always easy to build deeper relationships.

Applying it to sales, this is a common challenge for many sales executives. Once you’ve landed the sale, it’s time to stop talking. "All you can do at this point is lose the business. So, clam up".

Being a good listener can sometimes give you a strategic advantage, especially if the person you’re negotiating with slips and says something they weren’t intending to say. But chances are neither of these situations can happen if your mouth is moving. So for those of us who can be too talkative for our own good, here are four tips for better listening:


"Companies with leaders who are excellent listeners outperform their competition by a factor of three,". Many Executive Coaches, coach their clients to "plan" their listening, which involves understanding how they listen, as well as tailoring their preferences to how others communicate (as opposed to expecting everyone else to listen as they do). Then, create a plan. Asking yourself questions like:

  • What’s the purpose of the interaction?

  • What do you stand to learn? (Come prepared with three questions to add to your knowledge.)

  • What three points can you contribute that will bring value to others?


Silence can be uncomfortable, which is why people often try to fill it. Resist the urge. "Our society rewards people that talk a lot. We’ve forgotten how to listen,". But listening is critical and silence can be a powerful tool, particularly in negotiations.Silence can buy you time to think and, if your counterpart is uncomfortable with silence, they may divulge something they didn’t want to disclose. By being present and listening to what’s being said (as opposed to thinking about what you want to say next), you’re in a better position to respond.


Listening isn’t just about hearing the words, but what’s being communicated around them. Pay attention to the speaker’s body language cues to help you better process what’s being said. Instead of forming an answer halfway through someone’s question, hear them out first.


A good tip can be looking the speaker in the eye and visualizing the words they’re saying (think closed captioning on your TV or thought bubbles in a cartoon). This helps to focus your attention on their message and away from planning your response.

How do you improve your listening skills? What has worked better for you? How have your relationships improved by listening actively to others? What could you do to improve your listening skills?

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