When practicing Active Listening, you consciously maintain focus on hearing what the other person is saying. One way to do this is to silently repeat their words in your mind. If you notice your mind wandering, you bring your attention back to listening.

If you sense that your partner might feel misunderstood, you may want to try another step. When your conversational partner is done talking, paraphrase what they have said and repeat it back to them, instead of replying right away. This is to assure them that you understand. Then, you can check in with them to be sure you understood correctly and fully. The other person may want to clarify things, correct you, or add some more details. Let them. And then you can offer your response.

When you’re listening to someone and possible replies or questions occur to you, you may want to note them down on a piece of paper, so they don’t distract you while you are listening. At first, your conversational partner might not understand why you’re taking notes and feel uncomfortable. To reassure them, it’s a good idea to communicate ahead of the conversation that you may write notes in order to listen better.