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Free online marriage counseling: Learn to Listen

Healthy relationships depend on healthy communication. Being an expert "listener" is the most important of all communication skills and for many individuals the most difficult to do.

Often when conversations get stuck, it's because both participants are paying more attention to what they are saying than what the other person is saying. Messages that are sent out, but never heard and certainly not understood. Simply acknowledging the point your partner is making lets him or her know that you are listening. When you do this, you increase the likelihood that when it is your turn to "talk," in-turn you will be listened to.

You may want to print this exercise for ease of use. Click the Print Friendly button above. From there you can also format this exercise into a PDF file or email it to a friend. Note: Printing from a computer works best.

Learning to listen

Take turns speaking; sending messages to each other.

When you are the "listener," write down what you think your partner said. Then share it with him or her to assess its accuracy. 

If you are the "listener," you might want to use the phrase, “What you are telling me is...” or “So, you’re saying …” Record your results below.

If you are the "speaker," and you feel your partner doesn't get your point, calmly repeat it.

With each attempt to "listen" and to "summarize the point" the speaker is making, you will be increasing your listening skills.

Written work for the listener 

Message 1


What was the point your partner said, that you acknowledged and thereby proved you were listening?

 


What was your partner's reaction to your proof that you heard what he or she said?

 


 

Message 2


What was the point your partner said, that you acknowledged and thereby proved you were listening?

 


What was your partner's reaction to your proof that you heard what he or she said?

 


 

Message 3

What was the point your partner said, that you acknowledged and thereby proved you were listening?

 


What was your partner's reaction to your proof that you heard what he or she said?

 


 

Message 4


What was the point your partner said, that you acknowledged and thereby proved you were listening?

 


What was your partner's reaction to your proof that you heard what he or she said?

 


 

Message 5


What was the point your partner said, that you acknowledged and thereby proved you were listening?

 


What was your partner's reaction to your proof that you heard what he or she said?

 


 

Message 6

What was the point your partner said, that you acknowledged and thereby proved you were listening?

 


What was your partner's reaction to your proof that you heard what he or she said?

 


 

Message 7


What was the point your partner said, that you acknowledged and thereby proved you were listening?

 


What was your partner's reaction to your proof that you heard what he or she said?