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Listening p18

Hearing is a passive activity - we hear noise going on around us all the time e.g. the tap of the computer, the phone ringing, colleagues talking

Listening is active - It takes concentration to absorb the message, decode
it and make sense of it
What happens when we listen?
1. Distort
2. Delete
3. Generalise

How can we improve our listening skills?

  1. Take Notes so that you never need to ask for the information
  2.  Listen Selectively concentrate on the key points of the conversation,
    listening for relevant details and screening out  unimportant data
  3.  Listen Actively by responding and verbally acknowledging you’re
    still there
  4.  Listen between the Lines listen for tone, pitch, speed to get into step with the speaker
  5.  Listen with Empathy seeing the situation form the speakers point of view:
    “I can understand how you must feel”
  6. Summarise Make short summaries as you go along to check you are on the right track


  • The reason why we have two ears and only one mouth is that we may listen more and talk less
  • There are those who listen, and those who wait to talk
  • The more you speak, the less you’ll learn
  • We devote much more effort to making ourselves understood than to making ourselves understand
  • Make time to listen. It is a personal discipline. Good listening is physically demanding
  • It I listen, I have the advantage. If I speak, others have it.
  • Filling our ears with all we have learned to say, we are deaf to what we have yet to learn
  • When the mouth is open and the tongue is wagging, the ears are closed
  • Listening is one of the finest positive strokes on person can give to another

“Hearing is an especially important sense, and like smell, it is one that we have particularly neglected and abused. Once you make the start in looking after it, you will experience a continuing spiral of progress. No longer will things go in one ear and out the other – they will remain in your brain.” - T Buzan

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