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Are You a Great Listener?

Sunday, April 17, 2022

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Stephen Covey, author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People," said "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply."

Active listening allows a person to understand the point of view of another person and respond with empathy. It allows us to ask questions to assure we understand an issue. It lets someone we are speaking with know we value their opinions, even if we don't agree.

It is important for parents, grandparents and educators to help children become active listeners. Listening helps children develop vocabulary, comprehension and language skills. It is the communication skill we use the most. Poor listeners "hear" what is being said but rarely "listen" to the entire message.

When I conduct Behavior Assemblies at elementary schools, I distribute this "Are you a Good Listener?" quiz. Ask your children to answer the questions and then make a list of what they can do to improve their listening skills. It's a good idea for parents to complete it too!

Place a YES or NO next to each statement that reflects your listening skills:

1. I make eye contact with the person who is speaking.

2. I don't text or answer my phone while someone is speaking.

3. I wait until the other person is finished before I start talking. I don't interrupt.

4. I ask follow-up questions that pertain to what the person is saying.

5. My body language shows I'm interested.

6. I focus on what the other person is saying instead of thinking about what I'm going to say.

7. I don't change the subject to something that interests me.

8. When I have a conflict, I try to listen to their side of the story.

9. I try to understand what the other person is feeling.

10. I summarize what I have heard.

What can I do to become a better listener? Make a list.

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