Active listening is the practice to engage in to do the gap closing.

It is simple.

The Sender sends the message.

The Receiver listens without interruption and is not busy thinking of answers or any "response".  He is simply trying to "get" the message, while knowing that the sender will not be perfect at it, but wanting the sender to get the benefit the sender intends.

The Receiver nods and looks the receiver in the eye.  He may, as long as it is ok with the sender, ask whether he might ask a clarifying question and then does do that if the answer is yes.  True, this is an interruption in a sense but it is more of a stitching together information so that it forwards the purpose of the communication. 

When the Sender is finished with the whole thing (or each segment if the communication is likely to be too long for the Receiver to recall and recount it sufficiently), repeats back in his own words what he understands to have been communicated.  The sophisticated Receiver also lets the Sender know how he understands how the Sender might be impacted/affected by that - that is what is called a validation of the emotions of the other so that it doesn't feel like the emotions are dismissed as meaning nothing or very little.  (When a Sender feels "not gotten" and that his/her emotions are invalidated, the Sender is prone to emotional outrage as it feels like a stick in the eye and a diminishing of the other person.)

The Sender says if he/she "got" that the other person understood what was said.  If not, the Sender might clarify and then ask if that was clear AND ask the other person to feed it back so that the Sender can see that it is understood.  (The Receiver must not ever object to what the Sender does or insist that the Sender should have "gotten" that he/she has "gotten" that the Receiver has "gotten" that which is to be "gotten"!)

The process is repeated until the Sender "gets" and acknowledges that the Receiver has "duplicated" the message that he/she tried to convey. 

They then thank each other for the communication success or do some kind of gesture of appreciation.


YOU are responsible, no matter which side you are of the communication, for noticing the repeating and then engaging in the active listening process.  (You can figure out how to make the request.)


I saw Harville Hendrix (see references to him and his books on this site) do this onstage with a feuding couple self selected from the audience.  They had to be coached a little, but soon, the wife felt heard and they went from hostile to loving and smiling.  It works.  Use it!


If the other person is an interrupter who can't wait for you to stop talking, you can use a "talking stick" or the equivalent.  Have a stick or some object that a person holds when he is talking.  Only that person can talk, until the object is held by the other person. 

You can do the same thing by saying "I have now completed."  And so forth, passing the verbal baton back and forth after finished with your part of the conversation.

The next level
to be at

Proactive Listening - Going Beyond Just Hearing To Getting Results 

The model...

See on this site: The Communication Model - Heed It And Your Life Will Be Much, Much Better.)

Be more effective

10 Steps To Effective Listening (outside article. If this link is broken, simply enter in an internet search engine "active listening".)


A Nag, A Lecturer, A Knowledge Showoff And... - How To Handle Any Of Them And/Or How To Stop Being One! 

Nagging, repeating over and over and over and over....

Yes, the nagger should learn better ways of communicating after several failed attempts.

But, the naggee is not exactly the poor victim of another's behavior, but a victim of his own! 

A person only nags if the receiver has not managed to complete the communication such that both parties know it has been completed (not just "received").

Nagging and/or repeating is simply the attempt to have the receiver understand.  If the receiver does not adequately convey that he does ACTUALLY, understand sufficiently that he can use it, the nagging and repeating will continue.  And it is likely to get louder, in an attempt to get you to hear, and/or escalate in terms of wording severity.

"The message will be repeated until learned." Or until acknowledged!!

If you are the victim of nagging and people "stupidly rudely repeating" when you already said "yep" or angrily said "got it!" or "I know that already!", then you are the perpetrator of the lack of communication completion! 

(Or if you "unacknowledge it by doing the opposite of what you said you understood.)

Use the Active Listening process and you'll get relief as will the other - and you will be more effective in life!!!!!  And happier.

We communicate for a reason. (Duh!)

We want to get a point across such that it serves a good purpose.  (See The Communication Model - Heed It And Your Life Will Be Much, Much Better.) 

That means that the sender has responsibility to convey the message to the other such that the other fully understands it and can operate from it.

Unfortunately, in a sense, the sender is a human.  Humans are not perfect.  Therefore, they do not perfectly communicate.

That is the reason that we need to use a method where both the sender and the receiver can assure that the communication is complete and fully understood sufficiently that it gets the desired result.

Of course, if the receiver doesn't listen for whatever reason, that will cause a problem.  Or if the receiver "mishears" or doesn't understand something, there is a gap left that needs to be closed.

And the Receiver is also human and doesn't always "get it" even if he is listening carefully.


As the "active communicator", do this

To assure that you were heard, ask "did I make myself clear? What did you understand from it?"  

Whether delegating or simply in conversation where you want the message to be received, do "active sending", as an "active communicator" and also an "active listener".

As the receiver

To really connect with the other person, put what the person said into your own words, or at least a sentence indicating understanding and/or empathy. 

People will feel connected, as you've given the rare gift of making what they say appreciated enough to have truly listened.

Few people do.

Be "the completer"

In all conversations of any import, make sure the communication is completed - heard and understood.

All parties must "get it"!