Did I hear you right?


  • To recognise that when you listen you might not be hearing what is being said
  • To learn to reply based on what you hear rather than your fixed agenda about what you want to say.
  • To develop a collaborative and mutual way to communicate with your partner.

‘Did I hear you right’

You will need less than 15 minutes, or 2 lots of 10 mins might be preferable. Find a quiet space without any distractions.

Part 1- Listening

  • One of you is invited to talk for 2-3 minutes. The subject can be anything but to start with I suggest something non-provocative, your day at work, time at the gym.
  • The other listens without interrupting.

Part 2- Checking how much you heard through recall

  • The other then recalls as much of what was said as possible, trying to avoid any interpretation, or additions.

Part 3- The speaker identifies omissions and interpretations

It is much more useful if this is light hearted. There will be omissions and interpretations. The aim of this exercise is to improve communication, not to judge or ridicule.

  • The talker  gives feedback. The purpose of feedback is to help the listener learn about there own listening competence.
  • Feedback to include omissions, any interpretations, any altered meaning/mistakes from the original but aim to be light hearted.

Part 4- What was that like?

  • Share the experiences of having to listen with full attention, was it hard, easy, anything surprise you?
  • As a listener were you aware of your own thoughts getting in the way of being able to pay full attention?
  • What did it feel like to be heard? Describe how you felt, any surprises, did you feel able to tell more, be more chatty?
  • What was the effect of the removal of distractions?

Swap roles-either now of another day.

You may wish to try this with harder subject matter after you have each had a turn.

Did I hear you right’ in action

Practising summarising to your partner what they have just said before you take your turn in a conversation.

Do you recognise that this has an influence on how you respond to your partner?