Top Ten Listening Techniques

Top Ten Listening Techniques

Listening seems like a simple process and yet so many of us are more

eager to talk than to listen. Someone once said we were given two ears

and one mouth for a reason. What better gift could you give to your

family, friends, peers and bosses than to listen to them so that they feel

really heard? Here are some tips:

1. Stay present – Don’t let your mind wander. Many are composing a

response before the speaker has a chance to completely finish his/her


2. Make eye contact – Let the speaker see your interest by regularly

making eye contact.

3. Ask questions for clarification – This is not your time to respond.

Get really clear about what is being said. If you don’t understand,

ask questions in an open non-charged manner.

4. Acknowledge feelings – If the speaker is telling you something about

his/her feelings, acknowledge them. You don’t have to agree to show

that you see the speaker is upset or happy about something.

5. Restate or paraphrase – Make sure you are getting the information

the speaker is presenting by periodically repeating what you hear in

different words the speakers. “Let me see if I’ve got it so far?”

6. Seek first to understand and then to be understood - Before you

state your thoughts and ideas make sure you totally understand and

acknowledge the speakers thoughts.

7. Give nonverbal feedback - While the speaker is speaking, be sure to

smile, nod, frown, shrug your shoulders, or raise your eyebrows –

whatever is appropriate.

8. Silence – Don’t be afraid of this. Periods of total quiet will

allow you and the speaker to think about what was said. When you are sure

the speaker has completed his/her thoughts on the subject it will be

time for you to comment.

9. Take in all the information both verbal and nonverbal – Focus on the

meaning of what is being said and also what is not being said.

10. Get permission – Sometimes people just want to be heard. At other

times they are seeking advice. Give advice only when requested and

only after the person has had a chance to give you the whole story. If

you are not sure, ask if the person is looking for your input.


Alvah Parker is a Practice Advisor (The Attorneys’ Coach) and a Career Changers’ Coach as well as publisher of "Parker’s Points", an email tip list and "Road to Success", an ezine. Subscribe now to these free monthly publications at her website and receive a free values assessment. Work becomes more meaningful and enjoyable when you work from your values. Alvah Parker began her career as a high school chemistry teacher. She later ...

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