Are you a good listener? Rate yourself with this listening skills activity. Tick the box to indicate your most likely response to each statement:
Active Listening involves reflecting back the feelings and the content of what a person has said. If you use active listening techniques, you are likely to develop greater empathy with others. They will feel you are approachable and non-judgemental. It is a skill which can be developed with conscious awareness and practice.
2 points for the following answers in the listening skills test: 1b; 2a; 3b; 4a; 5b; 6a; 7b; 8b; 9a; 10b
Score of 15 points or more on the listening skills test: You are using active listening in the way you communicate with others. You are likely to be good at putting someone at ease and helping the conversation to flow. Your predominant style is empathetic - you are able to "put yourself in other people's shoes" to get a good understanding of their situation and how they feel about it. People are likely to come to you with their concerns and to discuss their views.
This knowledge can put you in a stronger position as a manager or leader. For example, you may become aware of potential problems at an earlier stage and work to resolve them.
Score of less than 15 points on the listening skills test: It is possible that at times you respond to people in a way that prevents good communication. This can often happen unintentionally by the words we use or how we react. Sometimes we can be too sympathetic - and make a situation worse. On the other hand, we can be too apathetic, not wanting to get involved.
You can communicate more effectively when you are empathetic, which involves the skill of active listening. Being aware of the responses to avoid when talking to others will help you improve your active listening skills. And remember that we are all human - it is impossible to "get it right" all the time. Being aware of what is involved in "active listening" is the first step.
Take a look at these Empathy Blockers to find out what not to say when listening to others.
For a step by step approach to better communication, download our How to Communicate Effectively Workbook.
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