How to Be a Good Listener

Good listening skills are needed in any career or academic setting. You can tell who is a good listener by simply observing someone while you talk. What are the characteristics of good listeners?

Good listeners:

· wait for their turn to talk

· look at you when you are talking (if in person) and give you their undivided attention

· ask questions when appropriate that are relevant to your topic of discussion

· keep the conversation on topic

How can you be a good listener?

1. Do not interrupt while someone is speaking. This is hard to do because you may want to talk about something else or share something that just happened. However, if you want to be a good listener, you must listen when someone else is talking and show interest.

2. If you want to share something, wait until the person speaking gets to a stopping and concluding point. It is important to wait for both. Sometimes we may pause while talking but are not done with the conversation. You will know when both points are reached.

3. Avoid shifting the conversation to talking about yourself or a similar situation you had. This is one that can be difficult. Often we want to state how we went through the same thing or how we recently may have done something similar. This is not to say that you cannot share this information, but as mentioned before, you need to wait for the person to stop and conclude with his thoughts.

4. Ask relevant questions that show that you are interested in their conversation. You want to be genuine, so carefully think about the questions you can ask that will provoke more discussion on the same topic.

5.  If appropriate, offer advice.  Some people may ask you for advice so you will know it is a good time to provide it.  Other times, you may need to ask if they want your advice.  Only ask if you have advice to offer.  If you don't have any advice to give but the speaker would like some, tell them you will get back to them.  Sometimes, you need to think about the situation and the advice you want to give.  So, give yourself some time.

Good listeners show great potential for career success and landing a job. When you are a good listener, people will gravitate to you because they know they can trust you to listen to them and demonstrate concern. In turn, you will have a group of people who can listen to you when you need an ear. Listening skills are key to any interview as well! So, be sure to follow these tips to get a job and while on the job.



Ann Navarro

About Ann Navarro

Ann has teaching experience working with elementary students in the areas of bilingual education, dual language, English as a Second Language, and Reading. Ann holds a Masters Degree in Curriculum & Instruction with a Reading Specialist Concentration. She also has experience evaluating lesson plans for the Smithsonian Institution. In her spare time, Ann enjoys spending time with her family outdoors and reading.

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