Listening Strategies

The most important skill for effective communication is listening skills. Try this simple exercise to test your listening ability. Close your eyes and for 60 seconds try counting from 1 to 100. Concentrate on the count and do not let any other thought enter your mind. See how far you get.

Listening is more than hearing. It’s processing what the other person says. Two strategies that strengthen the ability to listen are active listening and affirmative listening.  Active and affirmative listening build trust and develop relationships. Here are some questioning and responding skills that create effective dialogue.

Active Listening demonstrates understanding and interest

• Am I hearing you say……..?
• So you believe that….
• What other choices did you consider?
• How might this affect others?
• Where do you suppose that will lead?
• It sounds like you were….
• Can you expand more on that thought?
• How did this affect you?
• Is there another way to explain this?
• What do you want to see happen?

Affirmative Listening demonstrates empathy, caring and respect

• You seemed concerned about……….
• It sounds like you’re very proud of ………
• You were very eager to ……….
• I can see how this situation bothers you……..
• I understand how you must feel about …., I’ve experienced that myself when……….
• When you said ………, it really rang a bell for me because …..
• I really appreciate your willingness to talk this out


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