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Listening Skills

2 min

"The simple act of listening to someone and making them feel as if they have truly been heard is a most treasured gift.” — L. A. Villafane

4 power skills of listening - courtesy of communication expert Meredith Bell:

1/ The Ultimate Nonverbal - Your Undivided Attention

Give your undivided attention and maintain that focus throughout your entire time together.


↳Avoid multitasking, particularly when the other person can’t see you.

↳Eliminate external distractions (device, surrounding noise, etc.)

↳Eliminate internal distractions (thoughts, feelings, opinions)

↳If you find yourself drifting away, gently remind yourself to get back on track.

2/ Sense The Feeling and Express Empathy

Actively sense what it is they're feeling, so you can express empathy.


↳Approach them with a fresh awareness of who they are and make an internal commitment to connect with them.

↳Observe their facial expressions, their gestures, and their tone of voice, not just their words.

↳Put yourself in their situation, not so you can agree or disagree, and not to judge or even offer advice, but so you can appreciate what it's like to experience what they're going through right now.

↳Reflect back what you are hearing. For example, you could ask, “Are you disappointed that we have to start over on this project after the work we've already done?”

3/ Check the Message

Listen for the meaning, and pause to check that you understand what it is that they're saying.


↳You can start with any of these phrases, “If I'm hearing you correctly, you're saying…” or “It sounds like you…”

4/ Don’t Interrupt

Make sure that you give the person the opportunity to share their entire message. People rarely convey the entire message in one go.


↳Even if the other person pauses, don’t jump in. Give them time to collect their thoughts.

↳Encourage them to continue with your physical cue (e.g., simple nod) or through a statement like, “Please continue.”

PS: Listening is about showing the other person that you care about them and that they feel heard. This does not mean that you agree with everything they are saying.