Active Listening Exercises

You Can’t Listen If Your Ears Are Closed

Active Listening Exercises

Active listening is about tuning in and focusing on what the speaker is saying rather than thinking about our response, analyzing how we will respond to the speaker or planning what we will say next. When you actively listen to someone, it not only shows them that you care about what they have to say but also helps you understand their needs better.

Why is effective listening important?

Effective listening is important for a number of reasons.

First, when you are fully present and engaged with the person speaking, you are able to understand their message and feelings better.
Second, it also helps you understand their needs better and build stronger connections with them.
Third, when you actively listen to someone, you also have the chance to correct any misunderstandings they may have of you and your intentions.

 Active listening exercise: Breathing Together

One of the best ways to actively listen to someone is by breathing together. Breathing together is a great way to help you be fully present and engaged with the person speaking. It works especially well in one-on-one conversations.

Here’s how it works:

First, sit across from the person speaking and have them breathe in and out and then follow their lead. Next, take a deep breath and let it out slowly as you imagine any tension leaving your body with that breath. Finally, as you breathe in and out again, let your energy and focus be on the person speaking. 

Active listening exercise: Mirroring

Another great active listening exercise is mirroring. This is when you repeat back what the person speaking has said, either in the same words or in a different way.

Here’s how it works:

First, as the person speaking is talking to you, pay close attention to how they are expressing themselves. Even if you don’t fully understand what they are saying, try to pick up on their unique language and expressions.
Next, once the person has finished speaking and it’s your turn to respond, repeat back what they have said in your own words. Be sure to repeat back the core message they were trying to get across and avoid adding anything new.
Finally, make sure you respond to the person, not the words they have used.

 Active listening exercise: Ask Open-Ended Questions

This is where you ask questions that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” response.

Here’s how it works:

First, pay close attention to what the person speaking is getting at and try to understand the main message they are trying to get across.
Then, when you feel like you have a grasp on the message, ask open-ended questions to clarify any misunderstandings you have.
Finally, make sure you let the person know that you have heard what they have said by either saying, “Let me make sure I understand you correctly”.


Even though listening is something we do every day, it’s important to keep practicing it. Active listening exercises are a great way to practice staying actively engaged in a conversation. They are also a great way to build stronger connections with the people in your life by letting them know that you care about what they have to say.

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