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Become an Active Listener

438 ... an Active ... to what you may have heard, ... does not come easy for most people, yet it is one of the most ... skills we can use on the job and in our persona

438 words
Become an Active Listener
Contrary to what you may have heard, listening does not come easy for most people, yet it is one of the most important skills we can use on the job and in our personal relationships.
Hearing is a biological function, most people can hear unless they are hearing impaired. Listening, however, is a skill which takes active participation and conscious effort. Listening takes the words and sounds that we hear and interprets them. The importance of active listening cannot be overstated. In order to be effective on the job (and in life), you must develop your listening skills. This means being actively engaged with the person speaking by looking at them, asking questions, and reflecting back to them what you heard them say.
There are three main elements to active listening: tuning-in, asking questions, and reflecting on what the person has said. Tuning in means being fully present with the person and eliminating internal or external distractions. Asking questions involves posing thoughtful, relevant questions to further understand the other person’s feelings or thoughts. And reflecting involves repeating back to them in your own words the facts, feelings, and underlying meaning of the words.
There are many benefits to becoming a good listener: better ability to help others, social acceptance and popularity, and the ability to avoid problems that result from a lack of listening. To listen more effectively, clear your mind, maintain an open body stance and good eye contact, pay attention to not only the logical content of the message, but also the emotional, and respond appropriately (by nodding, smiling, or asking a probing question).

Are You a Good Listener?
Answer each question Yes or No.
1.I am able to empathize with other people’s situations.
2.I avoid interrupting other people when they are speaking.
3.I avoid thinking of how I am going to respond to the conversation while someone is speaking.
4.I give people my full attention when speaking with them.
5.I do not try to tell “my story” as soon as someone tells me their story.
6.I avoid thinking I know what the speaker is about to say.
7.I maintain good eye contact and body language when speaking with someone.
8.I ask a lot of questions when someone is talking with me.
9.I reflect back feelings and facts, so I am sure I heard the person correctly.
10.People often come to me just to talk.

If you answered “Yes” to seven or more questions, you are a good listener. If you answered “No” to five or moreScience Articles, you may need to work on your listening skills.

Get Smart!
ØListening is one of the most powerful communication tools we have available in our work toolbox.

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Michelle L. Casto, M.Ed. is a Whole Life Coach, Speaker, and Author of the Get Smart! LearningBook Series. She can be reached at
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