By Kevin Eikenberry
Listening is a life skill that is something we can always improve. There’s not a time I can think of when I asked if someone would like to be a better listener, and they said, “no.”
Listening has a big impact on our ability to communicate, create and build relationships, and get things done. Listening helps us to learn. By doing it well, listening can save us a lot of time and frustration.
Although there are some ways we think about listening as an act of not talking, to be a highly effective listener, we do need to talk and engage. One of the best ways to engage as a listener is by asking questions.
Today I am giving you a set of questions you can use to be a better listener. There are seven questions you can use to ask others, and three questions that are for you to think but not to say out loud.
7 Questions to Ask Out Loud+
Modify these questions and use the appropriate one for conversations:
- “What would make it better?” This question allows the other person to share their viewpoint and take the next step in the conversation.
- “Can you tell me more about that?” This is actually one of the most useful questions in the listening starter pack because it encourages the other person to continue. It also works in practically all situations.
- “I hear you saying x, do I have right?” This is a way of paraphrasing to make sure you understand the other person. This is an important question, and there are many different ways to ask it. Find what works best for you because it is essential for understanding and communicating that you understand.
- What is the most important thing to remember?” Let the other person summarize and show them you really want to understand the other person. This also shows that you want to remember, too.
- “How can I help?” Remember, when asking this question, whether you can or can’t help, you must be will to help in some way.
- “What’s next?” Be careful with your tone with this question. It might signal to the other person that you are bored. It could also signal you are ready to work on a solution.
3 Questions to ask Yourself
These questions are meant for yourself. By thinking about these questions, you stay engaged in the conversation and avoid a wandering mind.
- Do I really understand what they are saying? This question helps determine your understanding. If you don’t understand, it is time to ask some of the seven questions above.
- What are the non-verbal behaviors saying to me? People often communicate with much more than just their words. Are you listening with your eyes and ears? Are you getting the full message?
- How do I show support for them now? This is a powerful question to ask, and even more valuable when you take action on your answer.
These questions are just a start. When you being using these questions, you will find your own way of phrasing and your own questions.
Listening is about more than just hearing and understanding the messages being communicated by others. You send back a much bigger and ultimately more important message to others when you truly listen – you communicate that you support and care about the other person. These questions will help you remain mindful of this bigger purpose and help you listen more effectively whenever you use them. The 4 day event is free!
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