December 21, 2012

It’s always catchy when someone chooses a number that is one of the leaders in recognition such as 10. In keeping with that observation, here are the 10 commandments for good listening:

1. Stop talking. You can’t listen if you are talking.
2. Put the talker at ease. Help him feel that he is in a permissive environment.
3. Look and act interested. Listen to understand rather than to oppose.
4. Remove distractions. Don’t doodle, tap, or shuffle papers.
5. Empathize. Try to put yourself in the other person’s place so
that you can see his point of view.
6. Be patient. Don’t interrupt, look away or indicate impatience.
7. Keep cool. It encourages openness.
8. Avoid criticism or argument. This puts the talker on the
defensive. He may “clam up” or get angry. Do not argue
because even if you win, you lose.
9. Ask questions. This encourages the talker and shows you are
listening. It helps to develop points further.
10. Stop talking. This is first and last, because all other
commandments depend on it. You just can’t do a good
listening job while you are talking.

If you follow these 10 commandments for good listening, you will surely develop one of the most valuable listening traits–empathy–the capacity to participate in another’s attitudes, thoughts, and feelings. It is a characteristic of those who have a genuine regard for other people.