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Make It Happen Tipsheet
Career Management and Life Balance

Active Listening

If you are in a meeting, and the speaker seems to be repeating themselves, is it their fault... or yours? While it is true that communication is tough, could it be that they are repeating themselves because they "see" that you aren't listening? They reason - sometimes subconciously - that repetition brings retention.

To signal other meeting participants that you are in tune with the conversation requires active listening. And in those cases when you begin tuning out, active listening skills will get you back on track. Active listening both increases your connection with the subject matter under discussion, and increases the speaker's confidence in you. It is a key career skill, whether you are listening to your your colleagues, a sales prospect, or in an interview.

How to listen actively:

  • Sit up straight in your chair - don't slouch, lean to the side, or recline.
  • Take notes as you listen - but keep your eye on the speaker
  • Ask meaningful questions
  • Incorporate the speaker's points into your next comment
  • Interject with "yes", "mmmm", "ok"
  • Use your body language to acknowledge their points: nod, smile, etc.
  • Summarize your understanding of the conversation
  • Summarize any mutual action items

This week's action item: Active listening isn't just something you do - it's something that everyone should do. If you don't feel that your colleagues, friends, or family are actively listening to you, give them some pointers - or send them this tipsheet. Not only will they learn how to actively listen, but they'll learn how to actively listen to you.


Randall Craig is an expert on Career Development, Work-Life Balance, and Networking; to find out how his workshops, webinars, and keynotes can help your team or add to your event, contact him through www.PersonalBalanceSheet.com, or by email at editor@ptadvisors.com.

Make It Happen Tipsheet
Comments or questions? let us know: editor@ptadvisors.com

Copyright © 2008 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved.
Publication Date: Oct 14, 2008

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