PTA Leaders

Active listening encourages all member voices

Active listening encourages all member voices. Listening makes us feel worthy, appreciated, interesting and respected. Ordinary conversations emerge on a deeper level, as do our relationships. When we listen, we foster the skill in others by acting as a model for positive and effective communication.


ListenVALIDATE what the speaker is saying.

  • Acknowledge the value of the person’s issues and feelings
  • Acknowledge their worth and efforts to resolve the problem

ENCOURAGE the speaker to talk and express their feelings.

  • Convey interest in what they say
  • Use neutral words – don’t agree or disagree

CLARIFY each one’s perception of what has happened.

  • Ask questions avoiding “why?”
  • Help the speaker see other points of view

RESTATE what has been said.

  • This shows you are listening and gives opportunity to check your interpretations of what is being said

EMPATHIZE with the speaker.

  • Shows you understand (although not necessarily agree with) how the person feels
  • Helps speaker evaluate his/her feelings by hearing them expressed by someone else

SUMMARIZE the major feelings and ideas expressed.

  • Pull together important ideas and facts
  • Establish a basis for further discussion



If you want to listen so you can really hear what others say, make sure you’re not falling into one of the categories below.

  • MIND READER – You’ll hear little or nothing as you think “What is this person really thinking or feeling?”
  • REHEARSER – Your mental tryouts for “Here’s what I’ll say next” tune out the speaker.
  • FILTERER – Some call this selective listening – hearing only what you want to hear.
  • DREAMER – Drifting off during a face-to-face conversation can lead to an embarrassing “What did you say?” or “Could you repeat that?”
  • IDENTIFIER – If you refer everything you hear to your experience, you probably didn’t hear what was said.
  • COMPARER – When you get side-tracked assessing the messenger, you’re sure to miss the message.
  • DERAILER – Changing the subject too quickly tells others you’re not interested in anything they have to say.
  • SPARRER – You hear what’s said but quickly belittle it or discount it. That puts you in the same class as the derailer.
  • PLACATER – Agreeing with everything you hear just to be nice or to avoid conflict does not mean you’re a good listener.