Business, Community & Government, Wellness

Effective Listening for Better Communication

Esther Perel

Lesson time 17:20 min

Active listening is the root of effective communication. In this lesson, Esther teaches how to use the script of reflective listening to communicate better and explains the difference between dialogue and debate.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Understand the Difference Between Hearing and Listening • Don’t Debate; Have a Dialogue • Take Your Finger Off the Rebuttal Button • Explore Reflective Listening • Agree to Disagree • Communicate Your Process • "Just" Listen • Try This Essential Practice: Reflect on Your Listening Skills


[MUSIC PLAYING] - Much of the time, when we get training about communication, we are told how to say things. What I want to focus on in this segment is actually more on your listening skills-- how you make yourself available and open and receptive to hear what others have to say. And one of the things that makes effective listening challenging is that we often are half-listening, and the other half is already thinking about what I'm going to say, because I should say something in return. That, I'm going to challenge for you. [MUSIC PLAYING] Why is effective listening so important in relationships? Relationships are both. It is the talking, but it is even more so the listening. And it is the listener and the quality of our listening that will actually shape what the speaker will say and how they will say it. We think that the other person just said this because that's what they say, but no. What I'm saying to you is influenced by how I experience your listening to what I'm saying. And your listening to what I'm saying is shaping what I'm going to say next. So listening is anything but passive. It is actually very active and very powerful in shaping the conversation, the communication, and thus the relationship. [MUSIC PLAYING] One of the very important elements around effective listening is to understand the difference between debate and dialogue. If I debate you, I'm arguing. I am trying to make a point. I am more interested with you listening to me than I am interested in listening to you. It is confrontational, and it is meant to win. A dialogue is an exchange. A dialogue-- there is no winner. A dialogue invites me listening and then responding on the basis of what I've heard, rather than responding from the place of what I already came with before, regardless of what you're going to say anyway. Hence, in a dialogue, I have the feeling that the other person is interested in what I have to say, and vice versa. The difference can't be more important. Now, that doesn't mean that we don't have times when we are really in a debate. But it's very rare that you win over somebody through a debate. It actually is not very effective. You are more likely to win somebody over, if at all, in a dialogue. In dialogue, we are looking for new options together, and we're looking for the commonalities in our arguments. These are two very different-- not just styles of communication and argumentation, but these invite two very different experiences of relationships. What's very important to understand about effective listening is how difficult it is to listen when people are saying things that you disagree with. The research of Howard Markman says that we pretty much can tolerate 10 seconds of listening to something that irks us, that we don't agree with, and especially when it's personal and it's critical of us. 10 seconds-- that is three sentences. And after that, we tune out, either in fight or in fli...

About the Instructor

Known for her innovative approach to love and relationships, Esther Perel is sharing her methods for building deeper connections with every person in your life. Whether it’s with your partner or project manager, you’ll learn how rethinking the basic principles of intimacy, communication, and trust can improve the quality of your life in the bedroom, boardroom, and beyond.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Esther Perel

Renowned psychotherapist Esther Perel teaches you the power—and the art—of connecting with others.

Explore the Class
Sign Up