Reflective Listening

How Reflective Listening Can Help You Communicate More Effectively

Reflective listening is a communication style that can be employed to steer a conversation toward being healthy and productive. It originates from the idea of “client-centered therapy,” the favored method of psychologist Carl Rogers.

This technique is a valuable tool in de-escalating arguments and clearing up confusion. When properly employed, reflective listening will enable you to have a conversation free from emotional triggers and regretful words. It can help you to create a situation where a reasonable understanding can be reached.

We’ve all been part of a conversation that has gone off track and strayed in to unfriendly territory. Once emotions start to flair, it seems that the risk of misunderstanding is high. If things continue to escalate without resolution, abusive language – and even violence – can ensue.

How It’s Done

In effect, reflective listening consists of respectfully listening to someone, thoughtfully considering what they are saying, and confirming with them that you understand what they have said. When a conversation turns volatile, this style of communication can be a saving grace. Follow these guidelines when practicing this method.

How Not to Do It

The Benefits

When you effectively use reflective listening, you avoid the usual pitfalls of communication and take control of the situation. By commandeering the conversation in a positive way, you create a safe place where constructive problem solving can happen.


By engaging someone in this way, you will encourage them to communicate openly in the future – you are setting a new mood for the way your interactions with this person will go.

 You will become enlightened as to how they people are really feeling because and emotional behavior usually masks the real problem and conversations blow up into arguments or are ended without resolution because neither party wants to truly empathize or understand.

Successfully employing this method will likely get you noticed in a good way at work. Bosses will see you as a valuable leader if you are able to effectively manage disagreements.

Perhaps most rewardingly, people will want to confide in you because they trust that you will use your reflective listening skills to make them feel comfortable and understood.