Interactive Listening

The idea of Interactive Listening comes from the Active Listening theory developed by Thomas Gordon in his best-selling book ‘Leader Effectiveness Training’.

According to the author, Active Listening is not complex: to be successful, the listener has to reformulate what the speaker is telling him / her.

Even if it seems simple, Thomas Gordon was clear about one thing: becoming an Active Listener is not complex but not even easy.


During the last years I understood that Active Listening has some limitations in sales: when the salesperson listens actively he’s not in control of the communication process.

Being silent and paraphrasing what the prospect said is not enough to advance the sales process, to clarify the prospect’s intentions, to identify his main objections or even to disqualify the prospect.


Due to this reason I thought about the idea of Ineractive Listening and I developed the A.R.I.A. model.

I choose this name to refer to the breath of fresh air we feel when we meet a good listener who’s able to keep attention and ask the right questions.

The acronym A.R.I.A. stands for:

  • Assimilate
    This step refers to the ability of receiving and elaborate the information received.
  • Restate
    This step refers to our ability of understanding what the speaker said while rephrasing what he said.
  • Interrogate
    This step shows the main difference between Active and Interactive Listening.
    If the salesperson doesn’t want to be subjected to the communication process and live it passively he has to question himself about what the prospect said and the roots of his objections.
    In order to question himself he has to question the prospect with an effective Questioning strategy.
  • Advance
    This step concerns the ability of moving on with the sales process according to the information the salesperson has gathered.
    In order to do so the salesperson should use and effective set of Closing Strategies.


The Interactive Listening training is not just a checklist of actions or a set of best practices to replicate.

it would be too theoretical and the salesperson would paralyze in front of the prospect losing empathy and curiosity which are necessary to deal with this.


It turns helpful to provide the salesperson with the tools to:

  1. Learn how to handle the silence, without the need of filling it;
  2. Use the silence to let the prospect be exhaustive in his explanations;
  3. Ask different types of questions based on the prospect answer with an effective Questioning strategy;
  4. Show eempathy and curiosity without listening in a passive way;
  5. Move on with the sales process with valuable Closing Strategies.


.Due to the importance of this skill, Interactive Listening is part of:


> Feel free to contact me if you need help or write a comment in the box below if you have any question.

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