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10 tips on how to improve your listening skills.

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Improve your listening:

1. Stop talking - You cannot listen if you are talking - and if you are talking you are not learning.

2. Put the speaker at ease. - Encourage the speaker. Try putting the speaker's feelings into words. ‘I am sorry to hear my decision has upset you. I do appreciate what you are telling me. Tell me what we can do about the problem.’

3. Show that you want to listen - Look and act as if you are interested. Give full attention. Show you are listening. Nod and make encouraging remarks. ‘Yes, I see what you mean.’

4. Remove distractions - Shut the door, turn off the radio, don't doodle or walk about.

5. Empathise with the speaker - Try to put yourself in the speaker's shoes and see his or her point of view. ‘Why did he say that? What would I have said?’

6. Be patient - Allow plenty of time for listening when you make appointments. Don't interupt. Don't keep looking at your watch.

7. Control your emotions - If you get emotional you will not hear properly. You will get the wrong meanings from words and you could get the wrong message.

8. Go easy on argument and criticism - Ask questions to draw the speaker out. ‘Why did you say that? Is that what you really feel? What facts have you to support that statement?’ Don't argue or attack. If you put speakers on the defensive they may 'clam up' or get emotional.

9. Ask questions - Questions encourage the speaker and show you were listening. Ask questions for amplification. It helps to develop a topic. Ask: ‘Why do you believe that?’

10.              Summarise, review and reflect - From time to time summarise what you think the speaker has said and repeat the speaker's words. This will help the speaker and help you remember.

Good luck

Gary Hadler

B.Ec, Dip.EdArticle Submission, MBA

Principal ITS Tutorial School

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Gary Hadler B.Ec, Dip.Ed, MBA  Has had over 15 years experience in training  in the Business and Management area. To read more articles from Gary please visit

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