Basic Listening Staretgies

Decorative: A stop sign before the word "phubbing" for the message "stop phubbing"


"The Art of Listening: A Simple Way to Save Your Business" (post), though not a strictly academic article, offers "five tips for becoming a better listener" -- a skill useful in instructing, guiding, communicating, building community, and advancing your career.

  • These tips are useful for in-class discussion/instruction as well as office hours, other meetings with students or colleagues, etc. 
  • They are also useful for teaching students about effective listening through both direct instruction and by modeling positive, productive social/academic behaviour.

A. Key Context Points

  • "Listening is no longer a soft skill."
  • "[P]eople are more distracted than ever and ... our attention spans are only shrinking."
  • "[O]ur brains produce 12,000 to 50,000 thoughts a day."
  • "[T]here are simple ways that we cut through the noise."

B. "Five Tips for Becoming a Better Listener"

1. "[T]urn the phone off."

  • "Check texts and messages as soon as you leave the [class, appointment, etc.] and ... it will be okay."
  • "Stop phubbing ... snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention."

2. "Turn off all devices in a meeting and take notes the old-fashioned way."

  • "It forces you to focus on what you are hearing and writing makes it easier for you to remember."

3. "Ask questions and repeat information back that you are hearing." 

  • Don’t be afraid to clarify facts and figures and anything else you are fuzzy about."

4. "Make eye contact."

  • "If the meeting is in person or even if it is being done through a video chat, ... make this simplest of human connections."

5. "Stop multi-tasking during a meeting when working from home or in your office."

  • "Close the door [and] then block out people, other sounds, and any other potential distraction."
  • "Put a sign on your door so everyone knows you are tied up."
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