Active Listening through Body Language

Active listening is not just about taking information in and processing it.  It is also about our physical demeanour and body language. Egan (1986) devised five key component of active listening, known by the acronym SOLER:

  • Sit straight (this is important in conveying the message that ‘I am here with you.’)

  • Open posture (indicating openness to listening to anything the speaker chooses to share)

  • Lean forward (indicating an interest in the speakers words)

  • Eye contact (another way of expressing interest and reassurance)

  • Relax (a relaxed posture puts the speaker at ease).

By remembering SOLER, you can adopt an active listening approach with friends, family, and colleagues. Try it next time you are in a conversation.

Can you think of any other ways to show that you are actively listening?


Egan, G. (1986), ‘The Skilled Helper’, 3rd Ed., Brooks/Cole, Belmont, California.


Categories: Business, Counselling, Personal/Professional Development

Tags: , , , , , ,

7 replies

  1. Thank you for sharing these active listening tools. I found your website a few days ago but somehow missed seeing your blog.

  2. Asking good questions. Eg., “Excellent presentation, what do you think about…”
    If it’s appropriate, ask them to pause because, “… this is important. Let me make a note… Go on.”
    If it’s appropriate, put your hand on theirs.

  3. We stumbled over here by a different website and thought I might as well check things out.
    I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking at
    your web page again.

  4. As I read your recommendations, I realize that I practiced this at a business meeting yesterday. It’s reassuring that I am using best practices. Thank you HPC!


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