4 verbal listening skills when you're working with staff members

Leaders can help themselves and their staffs by practicing the art of active listening. Here are some verbal skills to help.

  • Encouraging conveys interest, leading the reporter to keep talking. Don’t agree or disagree, but use noncommittal words with a positive tone of voice: "I see," "Uh-huh," "That’s interesting," "Hmmm ..."
  • Restating shows that you're listening and lets the reporter know you grasp the ideas and facts. Paraphrase the reporter's basic ideas, emphasizing the facts. "What I hear you saying is ..." "In other words, you plan to ..."
  • Reflecting shows that you're listening, lets the reporter know you understand his feelings and develops his thinking. Restate the reporter's basic feelings: "You feel that ..." "I guess you were pretty frustrated ..."
  • Summarizing allows you to pull important ideas, facts and feelings together. It establishes a basis for further discussion, allows you to review progress and establishes agreement on a plan of action. Restate, reflect and summarize major ideas and feelings: "The key ideas you’ve expressed are ..." "As I understand you, you want to ..."

Taken from The Language of Coaching, a self-directed course by Poynter's Roy Peter Clark at Poynter NewsU.

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    Vicki Krueger

    Vicki Krueger has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and her current position as marketing communications manager.


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