Enhancing Listening Skills: Paraphrasing, Summarizing Guidelines to increase listening, Activities to enhance listening

2nd February 2022 0 By indiafreenotes

Having effective listening skills means being able to display interest in the topic discussed and understand the information provided. In today’s society, the ability to communicate effectively is becoming increasingly important. Although the ability to speak effectively is a highly sought-after skill, developing effective listening skills is often not regarded in the same respect.


Paraphrasing: when we paraphrase what a person has told us we give a re-worded statement of the message content.

Paraphrasing helps the speaker feel they are being listened to and understood, and it helps the listener confirm their understanding is accurate.

When paraphrasing try to:

  • Listen for key thoughts, feelings, and statements of facts.
  • Use your own words to let the other person know what you think they meant.
  • Be brief – you are trying to give a summary of key things said not a word for word account.
  • Avoid interpreting or jumping too far ahead of what the person has said.

Summarizing Guidelines to increase listening

Active listening is a process where the listener responds in a conversational manner back to the speaker. They place their attention on the speaker and they feed back their perceptions of the speaker’s feelings and the content of what they said. When you are actively listening, you’re thinking about what the person is telling you and what their point of view is that they are trying to get across. Please watch this video about how to improve your listening skills.

The three the main techniques for active listening are paraphrasing, clarifying and summarizing.

  • Paraphrasing is restating the speaker’s thought, in your own words. For instance, “I think you’re saying that…” or “It sounds like you’re saying …”. This is so they know you understand, or don’t understand, in which case they can clarify for you.
  • Clarifying involves asking questions to make sure that you understand. For example, “Can you give me an example of that?” or “You just said that such and such is important, can you help me understand what that means to you?”
  • Summarizing is accurately and briefly summarizing the intent of their message. For instance, “I think the main ideas here are …”.

Activities to enhance listening

  1. Face the speaker and give them your attention

It is difficult to talk to someone who is constantly looking around. Make sure to face the speaker, maintain eye contact, and give them your undivided attention. In Western cultures, eye contact is necessary for effective communication. Although shyness, uncertainty, or cultural taboos may inhibit eye contact, try your best to make sure the speaker knows that they have your full attention.

  1. Keep an open mind

Do not judge or mentally criticize what the speaker is telling you. Doing so can compromise your ability to take in what is being said. Never exhibit judgmental behavior, as it compromises your effectiveness as a listener. You can evaluate what was said after the speaker is finished talking, but don’t do so while you are still listening to them.

Let the speaker finish what they are saying and don’t be a sentence-grabber. Interrupting the speaker or prohibiting them from finishing what they are saying can indicate disrespect to the speaker. Often, interrupting the speaker mid-sentence interrupts their train of thought and can easily destroy a productive conversation.

  1. Active listening

Active listening shows the speaker that you’re interested and is an important business communication skill. Using active listening techniques helps to ensure that you correctly understand what is said.

Active listening techniques:

  • Paraphrasing back to the speaker what was said, to show understanding.
  • Nonverbal cues (nodding, eye contact, etc.).
  • Verbal affirmations (“I understand,” “I know,” “Thank you,” etc.).
  • Demonstrating concern and establishing rapport.
  1. Just listen

Create a mental model of the information, whether it be a picture or an arrangement of abstract concepts. Listen to keywords and phrases and do not rehearse what you are going to say after the speaker is done talking. Think about what the other person is saying rather than what you are going to respond with. It is difficult to think of what you are going to say while also listening to the speaker. Be attentive and relaxed – don’t get distracted by your own thoughts and feelings.