Posts Tagged ‘Listening Skills’


Quotations on Effective Listening

February 3, 2008

Effective listeners remember that “words have no meaning – people have meaning.” The assignment of meaning to a term is an internal process; meaning comes from inside us. And although our experiences, knowledge and attitudes differ, we often misinterpret each other’s messages while under the illusion that a common understanding has been achieved. — Larry Barker

Listening for and identifying the tone in others and adapting appropriately — as well being conscious of the tone of your own messages — will determine your communication effectiveness. Being tone conscious will prevent you from sending and receiving messages that fall on deaf ears. Sometimes the most revealing part of a message isn’t found in the words themselves but in the subtle messages wrapped around those words. Failure to pick up on these “secret messages” may leave you blind to what is really being communicated. . . . — Dianne Booher

Our first responsibility as effective listeners is to understand ourselves as communicators. Just as the sources of the communication message should be trained in self-intrapersonal communication, so, too, should listeners know themselves. — Carolyn Coakley

Every person in this life has something to teach me — and as soon as I accept that, I open myself to truly listening. — Catherine Doucette

We listen in order to learn and retain information. If we are speaking, we are not listening or learning anything to add to our sum of knowledge. This is why the first step to effective listening is to stop talking! — Ken Fracaro

Listening effectively to others can be the most fundamental and powerful communication tool of all. When someone is willing to stop talking or thinking and begin truly listening to others, all of their interactions become easier, and communication problems are all but eliminated. — Ken Johnson

The contrast between hearing and really listening can be as different as night and day. And in a business environment, not listening effectively to customers, employees, and peers can mean the difference between success and failure. — Ken Johnson

Listening well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well. — John Marshall

When making personal decisions, listen to what your head says; then listen to what your heart says. If they differ, follow your heart! Whenever you listen to your heart, you listen to that part of you that is most interested in your well-being. — Anonymous


10 Ways to Show You Are NOT Listening

December 10, 2007

In previous Listening Matters posts, you’ve read about 10 Ways Educators Can Listen Better to Their Students and 10 Reasons Parents Must Become Effective Listeners. Today, I have for you something that’s a bit more tongue-in-cheek. Daryl Vander Kooi, Ed.D., a former executive board member of the International Listening Association, shares with us a sampling of ways that he’s experienced people not listening.

  1. GO AHEAD; DO THE SAME THING. Continue to do as you were. Don’t stop, ask “what,” or walk over to see what the other person wanted.
  2. SLEEP. If you feel too self-conscious about sleeping during a meeting, at least let your eyes glaze. Remember to prop your head with your hand so that it does jerk you around when you do nod off.
  3. FAKE ATTENTION. See if you can master the art of having your head nod affirmatively without it becoming regular and expected.
  4. ADJUST THE VOLUME. Make a clear, unobtrusive gesture that you are turning your hearing aid volume down or your iPod volume up.
  5. SMILE EVEN WHEN YOU DISAGREE. Smile. Make it look like you agree with the speaker, when he knows that you do not.
  6. CHANGE THE CHANNEL. When your spouse, brother, sister, parent, or friend begins a conversation about the television program that’s on, change the channel.
  7. READ. When your spouse is hinting at a conversation, say, “Just a minute.” Go to the restroom and read Sports Illustrated or Everyday with Rachael Ray. Maybe your spouse will forget.
  8. USE E-MAIL. If you want to avoid some subjects while still maintaining a superficial contact, forward as many e-mail junk stories as possible beginning each with “Mom, I just loved this one.” And be sure to never check out the validity of the stories at
  9. CHANGE THE SUBJECT. Act as though you misunderstood; say, “Oh, I’m sorry, but I thought you asked me something else,” and then continue with what you thought.
  10. DON’T. One of the best ways to convince others that you are not listening is to not listen.

— Daryl Vander Kooi, Ed.D., Professor Emeritus, Dordt College

What other ways have you experienced people not listening to you? It’s unfortunate, but I bet we can double this list . . .