Active listening techniques - tips and examples

Service Business

During the conversation with the client, it is worth acting in such a way that he can see our interest and feel that he is treated in a special way. When will the interlocutor perceive our efforts in this way? Well, when he is convinced that everything he says reaches us and is properly understood. Active listening techniques are used to create the impression of contact with the seller and build a common ground of understanding.

If we look carefully at the following active listening techniques, we come to the conclusion that we largely use them in our daily conversations, precisely in order to find contact with the interlocutor. However, the given set of the most important active listening techniques will allow you to become aware of the possibility of conducting a business conversation and organize your knowledge on the subject. After getting acquainted with them and understanding their functioning, we will be able to conduct talks with our contractors effectively and straight to the goal.

Active listening technique - reflected

One of the most interesting active listening techniques is reflection. As the name suggests, it is about mirroring what the interlocutor says and feels and the way he behaves. It is not, however, about mindlessly "monkeying" the other party as inexperienced traders sometimes do. Rather, it is about showing that we understand the client and know what he feels and adjusting to him. We tune in to the partner, we enter his reality, thoughts and emotions.

This effect is achieved through similar gestures, body posture, similar behavior and volume of voice, pace of spoken words or tone of voice.

By using reflection, we make our interlocutor feel good, even comfortable and safe in our presence. Common ground of understanding, good relations and the trust we generate in this way allow us to present our position and arguments to the client. In such a situation and favorable atmosphere, it is much more likely that our arguments will be better received by the other party, and the conversation will be able to move in the direction we care about.

On the verbal level of the conversation - in order to show the interlocutor understanding and empathy - the following phrases can be used, for example:

  • Every time you talk about it, I can hear the joy in your voice.

  • From your behavior, I assume that the proposed solution will be satisfactory for your company.

  • I perfectly understand your agitation and anxiety.

Another method to tune in with the person you are talking to is to adjust the pace of speech. People say 100 to 150 words per minute on average. It is easy to test the pace of our speaking. It is enough to pick up a newspaper or any other text and read it at our normal pace. Then let's check how the same passage sounds in our mouths with slower and faster reading. This easy exercise will make us aware of what the pace of speaking can be and how the spoken words sound when we speak fast, normal and slow. Thanks to this, during a conversation with a contractor, it is much easier to sense and recognize the pace of speech of the other party.

Active listening techniques - paraphrase

Another active listening technique is paraphrasing. A paraphrase is nothing more than repeating what the other person said in a slightly different way but keeping the gist of the matter. When we have direct contact with the client, we simply repeat the key theses of our interlocutor in our own words. For example, when a customer says: I am looking for durable floor panels that will not wear out after installation and will retain the original color for a long time, the seller can repeat it like this: From what you said, it appears that he needs laminate flooring the highest quality and high abrasion class.

Why is paraphrasing used in business talks (and not only)?

The main task of paraphrasing is to check that we have understood the intentions of the person with whom we are talking correctly. This technique is most often used when many different issues are raised in one meeting. It is also useful when contacting a person of a rather chaotic nature. Then the paraphrase allows you to organize the topics discussed and move on to the next points of the conversation.

Also, by paraphrasing we show the other party that we are listening carefully and trying to understand what he has to say. In the case of difficult conversations or conflict situations, paraphrasing allows you to cool down and collect your thoughts.

It is worth adding that paraphrasing someone else's statement does not mean that we agree with it, but that we understood what our interlocutor had to say.

The following phrases are often used when paraphrasing is used:

  • What you say shows that ...

  • If I understood your intentions correctly, then ...

  • Did I understand correctly that ...

  • If I understand your statement correctly, then ....

Active listening techniques - asking questions

Asking questions is another method that can be included in active listening techniques. Certainly, during everyday conversations with anyone, we ask questions - if only to make sure that we have understood what our interlocutor was saying.

Each of us asks questions and it seems like a trivial method. However, the proper use of this technique allows you to better understand the customer and direct the course of the conversation in the desired direction - one that will favor the sale of the product we offer.

With the right questions:

  • we obtain information on the client's requirements and intentions,

  • we can understand more easily what the interlocutor means,

  • we show the other side a different point of view,

  • we lead our client in the direction we desire, i.e. towards the purchase of products from our offer.

In interviews, we can use - depending on the needs - different types of questions.

Open-ended questions

By asking the interlocutor an open question, we allow him or her to freely develop his statement and fully present his position.

  • What is important to you when you choose online self-bookkeeping software?

  • Why are you reading the Business Price portal?  

Closed questions

In the case of closed questions, we narrow down the possible answers to confirm (yes) or deny (no) or choose from several options (this, that, etc.). These types of questions most often start with pronouns such as where, who, what, if, and so on.

  • Will a 5 kg washing machine be sufficient for you?

  • What color of the car do you prefer - red or blue?

Suggestive questions

As the name suggests, there is a suggestion for an answer in the body of the suggestion question.

  • How much do you like the articles available on the Cena Biznesu portal?

  • How many benefits have you already gained from cooperation with our company?

Immersed questions

Before we ask a question, or even when asking a question, we provide a short information explaining why we are asking about such an issue. This explanation, in a sense, "immerses" the question asked in the needs of the person who is asking. In this way, we explain the reason for asking the question and our needs of the recipient, which brings the parties closer together and causes the other party to treat us with greater understanding or friendliness. As a result, there is a much higher probability of answering the question asked.

  • I am very curious, but in fact - why did you not decide to use the services of our company?

  • Information would be of great help to me in the future, and it would be very interesting for me to know the reasons for your refusal.

Start a free 30-day trial period with no strings attached!

Active listening techniques - nodding

If during the conversation we want to show our interest to the client, it is worth using another technique of active listening, known as nodding. Nodding is used to let the other party know clearly and clearly that we are actively participating in the conversation and hearing and understanding what it is communicating to us.

Certainly, we have used this method more or less consciously more than once. By using our body language - facial expressions, posture and gestures, we let us know that we are listening. We smile when the interlocutor says something cheerful, we show concern when we hear something sad or disturbing. We nod by nodding when we agree with what we hear. From the verbal side, we can also express our interest through interjections and short phrases like "uhm", "aha", "oh yeah", "yes, yes", "of course" etc. etc. etc.

This way of conducting a conversation makes the interlocutor good to talk to us (because he came across someone who listens to him very actively), which encourages him to continue speaking. During such a conversation, the client can provide us with much more useful information than we could expect.

Active listening techniques - self-esteem

Everyone would like to have high self-esteem and self-esteem. This simple psychological mechanism is the basis for another active listening technique, which is appreciation.

By appreciating our interlocutor, we make him feel good in general, and especially in our company. Appreciation creates a good atmosphere for our conversation and builds customer trust. In such a situation, the interlocutor will be willing to tell us more about their needs and it will be easier to trust our commercial offer.

Each of us has better and worse character traits. We try to find the client's strengths and emphasize and emphasize them during the conversation. Let us show approval for his achievements and acceptance of his way of thinking and acting. Let's make the interlocutor feel important.

In order to evaluate it, we can use the following expressions:

  • Great idea!

  • What you are saying is true.

  • You've touched on the heart of the problem.

  • Thank you very much for bringing this to my attention.

  • I am very pleased that you have such accurate and specific comments.


At the end of our discussion of effective active listening techniques, we will say a few words about a technique called debriefing.

During an important business conversation with the contractor, important cooperation issues are raised. In such a situation, it is worth summarizing the issues discussed and the findings so far. Summing up allows you to close a certain stage of the conversation and reduces the chances of getting lost among the issues raised during the meeting. Organizes the conversation and allows you to see the progress made during the conversation. It allows you to draw conclusions and move on with the issues discussed. Summarizing the individual stages of the conversation, we can also emphasize and pay special attention to those issues that we really care about.

Using this method, we can use expressions such as:

  • From what we talked about today, it appears that the most important issues are ...

  • From what I understand from the conversation so far, the crux of the problem lies in ...

  • I think that the issues discussed can be summarized as follows ...

The presented techniques of active listening are effective methods of conducting conversations, especially those during which we care about good contact with the interlocutor and convincing him or her. However, it is important to remember that these are techniques that must be used with understanding and sensitivity. Blindly imitating and trying to force the technique will have the opposite effect.

We start with the technique, but the point is not to miss the broader context of the conversation with the client. Let us remember that there is a man on the other side, a specific person with his desires and needs. If we listen and be interested in what he has to say, there is a very high probability that we will establish a good relationship with him, and thus - beneficial business cooperation.