Facilitation: Listening Tips

Relating Skills — Listening Skills

Six Tips for Increasing your Listening Skills with Individuals

  1. Express genuine interest. By showing that you understand what the individual is saying, you confirm that you have listened attentively and know what was said. For example, nod your head in agreement to show that you understand or say, “I understand. I think we can move on.”
  2. Express empathy. For example, say, “Sue, I know that you are upset. Tell me what I can do to help. I want to listen.”
  3. Restate the problem or point. Repeat to the person what you think they mean. “So what you are saying is that you don’t understand why we are making these changes.”
  4. Know when to remain silent. If the individual is upset and trying to get something off her/his mind, it might be best to remain silent. Once that person has stopped talking, you can restate your understanding of the problem.
  5. Show respect. Even if you disagree with the person’s position, fully attend to what is being said. Before stating your opinion, say, “This is what I hear you saying. Am I correct?”
  6. Stay focused. By making eye contact and reading body language, you will show interest and be able to more fully understand what is being communicated.

Adapted with permission from Soil and Water Conservation District Outreach: A Handbook for Program Development, Implementation and Evaluation. Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Soil and Water Conservation, 2003.