listening by MichaelCoughlin


									                              LISTENING SKILLS
Listening, as opposed to hearing, is a skill which can be developed. It requires the listener to
concentrate fully on the speaker; to recognise distractions (both environmental and attitudinal)
and put them aside.

Guidelines for listening skills

The positive listener                            The negative listener

Body language

adopts positive posture;                         looks bored and judgmental;
avoids distracting mannerisms;                   doodles or fiddles distractingly;
good eye contact;                                avoids eye contact;
nods and smiles when appropriate;                shows little response to what is being said
maintains comfortable distance


keeps attention focused on speaker “When         keeps focus of comments on self: “When
that happened, what did you do?”                 something like that happens to me, I…”


accepts speaker’s ideas and feelings: “That’s    fails to accept speaker’s ideas and feelings “I
an interesting idea, can you say more about      think it would be better to…”


empathises: “So when that happened, you          fails to empathise: “I don’t see why you felt
felt angry”                                      that”


uses open questions which often begin with       uses closed questions i.e. those questions
what, how, who, when, where (why can             that give a yes/no response
sound a little interrogational)                  fails to probe
probes in a helpful way:
“Could you tell me more about…”


asks for clarification                           assumes things; fails to clarify
checks understanding by paraphrasing, etc.       fails to check understanding


summarises progress from time to time            fails to summarise
widens range of ideas by summarising a           narrows range of ideas by suggesting a
number of alternatives from which the            ‘correct’ course of action
speaker can choose

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