10 Questions to Make You a Better Listener
Listening is about more than just hearing and understanding the messages being communicated by others. Use these questions to help you listen more effectively and build better relationships.
Listening is a skill we’d all like to get better at – I can’t think of a time when I asked someone or a group if they wanted to be a better listener and someone said, “no”.
It is a life skill that impacts our ability to communicate, build relationships and get things done. It helps us learn. Doing it well can save us immense amounts of time, effort and frustration.
While in some ways we think about listening as an act of not talking, actually, to be a highly effective listener we do need to talk and engage – and one of the best ways to engage as a listener is by asking questions.
Today I am giving you a “starter pack” of questions you can use to be a better listener. Seven of these questions you can ask others, and three are questions for you to keep in mind, but not ask out loud.
The Out Loud Questions
Not all of these will apply in every situation, so modify and use the appropriate ones for a given conversation.
The Internal Questions
These are not meant as questions to ask of the other person, but of yourself. Thinking about these questions will help you stay engaged in the conversation and avoid a wandering mind. They also keep you focused on what is ultimately most important – your relationship with the other person.
As I said, these are a starter pack. Use these to start using questions more effectively when you listen. As you do, you will develop and find others to use, including alternative and personalized versions, that will expand your starter pack.
Listening is about more than just hearing and understanding the messages being communicated by others. You send back a much bigger and ultimately more important message to others when you truly listen – you communicate that you support and care about the other person. These questions will help you remain mindful of this bigger purpose and help you listen more effectively whenever you use them.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. You can learn more about him and a special offer on his newest book, Remarkable Leadership: Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at a time, at http://RemarkableLeadershipBook.com/bonuses.asp .