West Yorkshire Mentor Guide

is called ‘me too’ listening and is not effective in the communication process, as a lot of things can get missed. Listening effectively doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it is a skill that can be developed with practice. Here are some things that will help the other person to know that you are listening properly.

• make appropriate eye contact • nod you head • make encouraging noises; “mm” • help by making responses, “I see” • smile • ask relevant questions • check your understanding

• curb your interruptions • avoid assumptions • show a genuine interest • put yourself in their shoes • keep an open mind • be patient

Also, we tend to listen at different levels. We start with plain ignoring where, in fact, we are not listening at all. The next level is superficial listening where we may be displaying some of the attributes of active listening, but actually not a lot is going in and if pushed we probably would not be able to repeat back what we had heard. The next level is listening for content. At this level we are actively taking on the facts that are being shared and could recall them if required. The last level is listening for meaning. At this level we are gathering data about people’s emotions, beliefs and values. For example, if when asked how long they have been in a job an individual says “too long!” this gives us an insight into how they feel as well as the fact that they have been there some time. Listening effectively is one of the biggest compliments that you can give to a person. Think about times when you have felt really listened to or not listened to at all. How did that make you feel? To be a great communicator, you first have to learn to listen well.


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