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How to Become a Good Listener

When it comes to listening, there are people who are really good at it—who give the speaker their full attention and actively seek to understand the message being conveyed. And... there are people who are bad at it.

This training activity asks people to reflect on behaviors they associate with the best (and worst) listeners they know.  From there, they are able to contemplate their own listening behaviors and identify improvement areas.  Don't miss our Tips for Becoming a "Best Listener" at the bottom of the post!

Access the Who's Listening? Activity.

Most people who participate in this activity find they have some (if not a lot of) room for improvement in the area of listening.  Below are some helpful reminders.

Tips for Becoming a "Best Listener"!

Effective listening holds potential for effective problem-solving, builds trust, and opens the way for meaningful, ongoing communication and results. To become a best listener, consider and incorporate the following:

  • The benefit of one person’s ability to be an effective listener carries beyond individual conversations. Attention and good listening set a tone for the interactions that follow. Be an effective listener and influence many!
  • As a listener, focus on the speaker—what are they really trying to say? What are they feeling? What is their need, and how can you help?
  • The listener demonstrates a deep level of focus and concentration by maintaining eye contact and comfortable body language. Attention goes a long way toward relieving tension and letting the speaker know they have your undivided attention. Your eye contact and body language are part of effective listening.
  • Let the speaker DO most of the speaking and avoid interrupting them. Stop your rebuttal brain from formulating responses while you are listening.
  • Prompt the speaker with encouragement and phrases such as, “Tell me more about that…” or “You must have felt…”
  • Clarify what the speaker is saying by asking questions to understand. Say something like, “Let me make sure I understand…”

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