In an earlier post, we wrote about making a great first impression, especially when having an English conversation. One of the tips we gave was to show you are listening.

Active listening is a very important communication skill. When you listen actively, you understand the other person better. When you understand a person better, you can respond better.

In the English language, there are different expressions you can say to show you are listening. Here are some phrases you can use in daily English conversation.

1. “Do you mean ...?” You use this phrase to check if you understood the other person correctly.

Martha: I was so busy, I didn’t have time to eat!
Julia: Do you mean you haven’t had lunch yet?

2. “Really?” You use this phrase to encourage the other person to say more because you are paying attention.

Martha: Yes. I haven’t had lunch yet. I didn’t have time to eat breakfast too.
Julia: Really? You must be hungry!

Martha: I am. I had only a cup of coffee this morning.

3. “It sounds like ...” You use this phrase to show that you understand and share in the feelings of the other person. You can also use it for clarification.

Julia: It sounds like you’re feeling stressed.
Martha: A little, but I’m more tired than stressed. I’m looking forward to the weekend.

4. “I’ve noticed that ...” You use this phrase to show that you’re paying attention to the person’s behavior too. After all, actions speak louder than words.

Julia: I’ve noticed that you smile every time you talk about the weekend. Are you doing anything special?
Martha: Yes. Actually, I’m getting married!

5. “Let me see if I’ve got it right ...” You use this phrase to show check your understanding by summarizing everything the other person has said.

Julia: Okay, let me see if I’ve got it right. You’re extremely busy because your wedding is this weekend? Does this mean you will be away for your honeymoon?
Martha: Yes! We’re going to Italy for two weeks. I’m so excited!

Practice using these phrases when speaking in English. Everybody likes a person who knows how to listen!

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