Sylvia Henderson

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SL Column: Listening Skills

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Listening Skills

     When was the last time you listened to someone? I mean, really listened instead of simply hearing them? We are so inundated with information and messages during the course of our days that we’ve become immune to really listening.

     Practice your listening skills the next time someone speaks to you using these techniques.

  • Listen actively. Maintain eye contact with the person speaking to you.
  • Participate enthusiastically. Ask questions and pay attention to the answers before you formulate your own response.
  • Show that you are listening. Lean slightly forward. Nod your head periodically. Smile.
  • Wait for the other person to finish speaking. Avoid interrupting them.
  • Be in the moment. Avoid thinking of the five other things you should be doing while the person is speaking.

     If you do not have time to listen at the moment, politely excuse yourself and say so. Do not make it a habit, though. The next time, you may find yourself needing someone to listen to you.

Bonus gift: Learn more about how to be an effective communicator at

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