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Tips for Listening

  1. Always look at the person who is sending the message. Looking at the speaker will help you concentrate and close out unimportant noises. Your eye contact also will send a message to the speaker that you are listening.

  2. If your supervisor has trouble sending out clear signals, you must make the extra effort to listen more carefully. Although it is primarily his (or her) responsibility to be a good sender, it is still to your advantage to receive the message as clearly as possible.

  3. To remember the message, take some notes. Review the notes. Repeat the message in your mind a few times. Put any change ordered in the message into practice as soon as possible. When appropriate, repeat the message to your supervisor.

  4. Refrain from coming up with an excuse when you receive criticism. You will improve more if you listen to what you are doing wrong rather than quickly coming to your own defense.

  5. Think, reply briefly if necessary, and then continue to listen, so that you receive the complete message.

  6. Always ask questions right away if you don’t understand something. If you don’t ask for clarification of a point, you may not fully get the message that follows.

  7. If you find yourself in conversation with someone who is overly talkative, do not hesitate to interrupt after a polite period of time. If you do not interrupt, you may become so irritated you may not listen anyway.

Being a good listener is not easy. It will take a conscientious effort on your part. But one of the finest compliments you will ever receive from a superior will be something like this: “One thing I really like about Harry is that if you tell him something once, you know he’s got it. You never have to tell him twice.”


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