Ten Tips for Better Listening

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Improve your listening skills by practicing a few basic tips. These suggestions come from our listening skills training course. None is too complicated. But few are practiced all the time. Have one to add? Send it our way. Enjoy!

Text of Ten Tips for Better Listening

  • 1. EARSWIDEOPEN TenKernelsforBetterListening

2. ENGAGE Tolistenisaneffort,andjusttohearisnomerit.Aduckhearsalso. IgorStravinsky Recognize listening is work! To do it well, you need to focus on others and not yourself. 3. STOPTALKING Agoodlistenerisnotonlypopulareverywhere,butafterawhilehegetstoknowsomething. WilsonMizner Be quiet. Having a hard time with this? Touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue. Photo:KristyHall 4. PUTTHEPHONEDOWN Itistheprovinceofknowledgetospeak,anditistheprivilegeofwisdomtolisten. OliverWendellHolmes Texting while others are talking is distracting and RUDE. Period. Dont do it. 5. LOOKPEOPLEINTHEEYE Iliketolisten.Ihavelearntagreatdealfromlisteningcarefully.Mostpeopleneverlisten. ErnestHemingway Practice good eye contact. But remember, more than 20 seconds at a time is death- stare territory. 6. DONTINTERRUPT Listen.Donothaveanopinionwhileyoulistenbecausefrankly,youropiniondoesn'tholdmuchwateroutsideofYourUniverse. Justlisten.Listen untiltheirbrainhasbeentwistedlikeadrippingtowelandwhattheyhavetosayisalloverthefloor. HughElliott Unless the other persons hair is on fire, let him finish speaking. Photo:SeanLoyless 7. PARAPHRASEWHATYOUHEAR IknowthatyoubelieveyouunderstandwhatyouthinkIsaid,butI'mnotsureyourealizethatwhatyouheardisnotwhatImeant. RobertMcCloskey Repeat what others say. Doing so shows interest and confirms understanding. Photo:ThomasHawk 8. AFACEISWORTH1000WORDS Toooftenweunderestimatethepowerofatouch,asmile,akindword,alisteningear,anhonestcompliment,orthesmallest actofcaring,allof whichhavethepotentialtoturnalifearound. LeoBuscaglia Use appropriate facial expressions. Nods, smiles, and similar gestures show you are paying attention. 9. ASKQUESTIONS Ifyouspendmoretimeaskingappropriatequestionsratherthangivinganswersoropinions,yourlisteningskillswillincrease. BrianKoslow Stay engaged by asking: What? Where? When? Who? Why? How? Photo:OrinZebest 10. WAITYOURTURN Theoppositeoftalkingisn'tlistening.Theoppositeoftalkingiswaiting. FranLebowitz Be fully engaged in the moment. Do your best to be present rather than focused on what you will say next. 11. PRACTICE MostofthesuccessfulpeopleI'veknownaretheoneswhodomorelisteningthantalking. BernardBaruch Remember good habits develop from consistent practice. Start each day committed to better listening.