Improve Your Active Listening By Avoiding These Common Errors

Active Listening was a term coined by Dr. Richard Farson—the concept of Active Listening was created by Dr. Carl Rogers and finally, it was popularized and brought into the main stream by Dr. Thomas Gordon.

active listening feelings relationships leadershipWhat IS Active Listening? It is your verbal feedback to the sender of the message–of your understanding of what the sender said and how they felt about it, taking into account their non-verbal cues as well (body language, tone of voice, etc.). Period. Nothin’ else.

Okay, so here are the following eight mistakes that result from the listener’s failing to stay in touch with the sender’s feelings or the inability to keep the listener’s own feelings out of the listening process.


Sender: “I’m pretty upset with my neighbors about the weeds and junk in their yard.”

Here are the eight common listening faults (within two categories) to try and stay away from when Active Listening:


1. Overshooting: lntensifying the emotional level being expressed.

“You really hate the Jones’.”

2. Adding: Generalizing or expanding the scope of what the other is expressing.

“You wish the Jones’ would move.”

3. Rushing: Anticipating the sender’s next thoughts.

“And so you’re probably thinking of what to do about it.”

4. Analyzing: Interpreting underlying motives; “psychoanalyzing” the other.

“Maybe you’re upset because you like things nice and neat.”


5. Undershooting: Lessening the intensity of the expressed feelings.

“You’d just as soon not see the Jones’ weeds.”

6. Omitting: Reducing or skipping the pertinent facts expressed by the other.

“You’re upset by weeds and junk.”

7. Lagging: Backtracking or failing to keep pace with the sender’s communication.

“You were saying earlier that this wasn’t one of your better days.”

8. Parroting: A near word-for-word repetition of the sender’s communication.

“You’re upset with the neighbors because of their weeds and junk.”

Would you like to learn a bit more about Active Listening? Be sure and check out this amazing, in-depth article by Rogers and Farson.

Share this:

Learn more about L.E.T.