Are You a Lousy Listener?

For my PR Applications class we frequently do what is called NewsU.  NewsU is a website full of free courses that can be very useful for journalism or PR students to gain tips and skills for a future career.

The last course I took was called “Lousy Listeners” – which, of course, is about lousy listeners!

One thing I learned from this course is that I am not a good listener.  I knew I was not a good listener already, however, this course justified it.  Seeing as how many people are “lousy listeners”, the course offers some tips.

Helpful tips include:

  • Listen to what is meant, not to ready for a reply
  • Put yourself in the speaker’s shoes; how does the world look to him
  • We think faster than another speaks; keep thought on what the other is saying
  • Expect the speaker to say what he means in different words than you would use
  • Following these tips, alone, will significantly help with poor listening

It was confirmed that I was a bad listener when I read the courses’ list entitled, “Good Listeners Do This.”  I do not do half of the things on this list. These are definitely things that I would like to work on more not only for professional reasons, but in my personal relationships as well.

The list includes:

  • probe for clarification
  • listen for the story
  • summarize well
  • empathize
  • spot hidden assumptions
  • keep the other person talking
  • get rid of distractions while listening
  • look at the person as he or she speaks
  • look for “congruency” between what the person says and how he or she gestures and postures
  • encourage by nodding head or giving a slight smile
  • show awareness and control of body movements (no moving around, shaking legs, etc.)

This course was a great reminder of the things I need to personally work on when I am a listener in a room.

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