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How to Be a Better Listener (and Why)

"What Everyone Needs Is a Good Listening To"
— anonymous greeting card

Have you ever tried to do business with someone who just wouldn't listen?

The first time I met with a personal trainer, circa 1992, I said "I'm just here to tone up." She said "Yeah well it's really cool when you can bench-press your own weight!"

Nice. Not surprisingly, I never returned to that trainer. It pays to listen to the customer.

Listening to anyone is surely one of the highest forms of respect. Or to use the words of Martin Luther King Jr., "Riot is the language of the unheard."

9 Tips to Be a Better Listener

  1. Give your full attention to the person speaking.
  2. Set aside what you're planning to say.
  3. Check for understanding.
  4. Acknowledge what the other person is saying/not saying. Let them know you hear them.
  5. Just let the other person talk, without necessarily trying to "fix."
  6. Use open, friendly posture and facial gestures. These convey you are receptive and tuning in.
  7. Don't be afraid to pause briefly before responding.
  8. When it works to do so, take notes.
  9. Repeat key details, such as dates and times. This lets the other person know you "got it" and you care.
For more about listening, including an expansion of these nine tips, check out my new book Thriving at Work.

Listening to anyone is surely one of the highest forms of respect.

Gina DeLapa

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Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders® Coach, a sought-after speaker, and the proud creator of the Ultimate Reminders® book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Beware the organization whose response to a burning building is to form a committee") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. If you're not already getting her free Monday-Morning Pep Talk, be sure to sign up now at UltimateReminders.com/mondaymorningpeptalk.