10 Commandments for Good Listening

1. Stop Talking.

Polonius (Hamlet): “Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice.”

2. Put the talker at ease.

Help others feel they are free to talk. Create a “permissive environment.”

3. Show that you want to listen.

Look and act interested. Listen and understand rather than to reply.

4. Minimize distractions.

Don’t doodle, tap your fingers, or shuffle papers. Attention is a sign of valuing.

5. Put yourself in the speaker’s place.

Try to hear to understand the speaker’s point of view.

6. Be Patient.

Allow plenty of time. Do not interrupt.

7. Hold your temper.

An angry person often interprets the wrong meaning from words.

8. Go easy on argument and criticism.

This puts the speaker on the defensive. In an argument, even if you win, you loose.

9. Ask questions.

This encourages the speaker and shows you are listening.

10. Stop talking.

This is first and last, because all the others commandments depend on it.

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