Proactive Listening


In today’s business environment, intense competition and rapid change have dramatically expanded the need for information. In the past, people had to know how to do their jobs, but now people need a picture of the business as a whole. That means having information about external influences and about the work of other functions. Proactive listening helps meet this need. It is also a powerful tool for building and maintaining strong relationships required to reach personal and organizational goals.

In this unit, participants learn verbal and nonverbal techniques for moving from a reactive to a proactive approach to listening.


  • Identify situations in which good listening can make the difference between success and failure.
  • List typical barriers to effective listening.
  • List specific techniques to deal with communication styles they find challenging.
  • Use the Key Actions to listen proactively.
  • Identify steps they can take to reinforce proactive listening.

Key Actions:

  • Show interest in what the person has to say.
  • Ask questions to clarify, gather information, and focus the conversation.
  • Let the person know what you understand.