Do You Pretend To Listen To People?

I got asked a really good question a couple of days ago by a delegate that finds it difficult to listen to others.

This question was not posed from a course but through our post-course email support service.

If you don't know what that is, we offer all of our delegates unlimited access to their trainer

through email and telephone after their course.

So whilst they are implementing what they have learned if they have got any questions or need specific advice for a particular situation all they need to do is pick up the phone or drop us

an email and we will give them personal guidance - neat hey?

Ok, on with the show - here is the email I received:

"Hi Sean,

Thanks for a wonderful course. I never knew that learning could be such fun and your enthusiasm

and energy has really left an impression on the group.

I really enjoyed those active listening exercises that we completed on the course as this is an

area I feel really difficult to master. I know it's only been 5 days since the course but I feel

I am getting better at it as I am implementing the technique that you covered.

Have you got a short, sharp model that I can easily remember that I can take into EVERY situation when I need to actively listen?

Thanks again Sean

What you do is just great


Well, apart from sending David some money for the glowing comments he made, here is the reply that I sent to him!

"Hi David,

Your twenty pound note is in the post for your kind comments!

You did a great job on the second exercise when you went into it with the mindset of "Active" listening rather then "Passive" listening.

Ok, let me give you a whistle stop technique that you can use to become a better listener.

It's called R.A.S.E

R = Respond to the content

A = Acknowledge the feelings of what is being said

S = Show your understanding

E = Encourage further information

Let me give you an example:


This is another term for reflecting back what they have said in your own terms. By doing this it demonstrates your own understanding and if you know you have to do this it really makes you listen believe me!

This is also called "paraphrasing" David. There is a section on paraphrasing in your course manual page 67.

So, if the person says:

"You can cut the atmosphere with a knife at work"

You could reply with:

"So, there are some serious going's on then with people"

This response shows the speaker that you have understood what they have said.



So you change your focus to acknowledge what the person must be feeling:

"It sounds as though you are feeling uncomfortable about what is currently going on within your office"



Make your understanding real and legitimate even if you do not agree with them yourself. Remember, you are taking the speakers point of view into account and appreciate that.

"If I was in your situation I would feel uncomfortable too. I can see that you do not like this type of atmosphere in the air at work"



The final step in RASE is to encourage further discussion by asking an open ended question.

"So, tell me - what exactly is going on there?"

In Summary:

I hope that you find that model useful David.

That does not mean that you use it everytime as people will tend to see straight through it if

you do.

Add it to your toolbox of skills and use it whenever you need it.


Sean McPheat is the Managing Director of MTD Training, a leading UK management training company. Sean is regarded as one of the leading authorities in leadership development has been featured on CNN, ITV, BBC and Arena magazine. Sean also owns some of the most successful professional development sites in the world includin...

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