Keys to Better Listening

  • Rephrase what you heard.
    Then you and the speaker will be certain that you understood.
  • Pay attention.
    Keep your mind on what the speaker is saying. Think about your own problems when you are alone.
  • Shun preconceived ideas.
    People who won't believe something because it is contrary to what they "always knew" are closing their minds to fresh, and often vital, information.
  • Discipline yourself.
    Don't let anger or sympathy prevent you from understanding a statement.
  • Don't interrupt.
    The "open mouth" listener who must say something each time the speaker catches his breath is not listening full time.
  • Learn to concentrate.
    In long meetings, boredom and woolgathering can become problems. Allowing yourself to be bored by one speaker causes you to stop listening and miss important points that come up later.
  • Listen for the unfamiliar.
    A common fault is failure to pay attention to a speaker because you think you've heard it before. By listening carefully for just one new item or a different arrangement of facts, you can overcome the tendency to disregard the entire message.