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Listening Skills

When we think of communication many of us initially think about the way we express ourselves. Of equal importance is the ability to listen.

Five Techniques

Here are 5 techniques to help you with your listening skills:

ClarifyingTo secure additional facts.

To help explore all sides of a problem.
'Do you mean ...?'

'Could you explain that?'
RestatingTo check meaning and interpretation with the speaker.

To encourage the speaker to analyse other aspects of the situation and discuss them.
'As I understand, your proposal is to ...'

'Let's see if I have it right, you want to ...'
NeutralTo indicate you are listening and interested.

To encourage the speaker to continue speaking.
'I see'

'That's interesting'
ReflectiveTo demonstrate that you understand how the speaker feels.

To help the speaker evaluate feelings as expressed by another person.
'You feel that the decision wasn't made with all of the facts'

'The situation as you saw it was shocking'
Summarising ideasTo bring discussion into focus.

For easy summary.

To serve as a springboard for further discussion or as a new aspect.
'These are the key points...'

'Am I correct in saying this is how you feel about the situation...?'

Which of these techniques do you use regularly and which can you work on?


Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. Her programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
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  1. James Birtwistle

    Hi Maria, I believe all your tips are relevant, depending upon the situation, and how serious or complicated the message is.

    I like the 'Restating' and 'Reflective' technique the best. When I was working in Real Estate, in both selling and managing property, I regularly worked with Immigrants whose knowledge of english would either be poor, or no-existent. Consequently, I had to repeat myself, and then ask them questions to ensure they knew what I meant. Particularly Asians, not wanting to lose face, would generally reply 'Yes', when I asked them if they understood. I would then ask them to repeat what I said to ensure they understood. It was often the case that they had not 'mentally' received the message. Consequently, I would write down the items discussed in our conversation of any agreement we had reached, and send a confirmatory letter or email the results of the conversation to them, to avoid any disagreement, or misunderstanding in the future.

    • Maria Pantalone

      Hi Jim

      It's commendable that you were aware of cultural differences in your conversations. These are equally important when communicating with others. Your techniques ensured that your message was understood.

      Thanks for your comments.



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