Listening Tips

March 29, 2016

Listening is a skill that all professionals - regardless of age - can benefit from. With increasing demands and distractions, listening is integral to our day-to-day actions and interactions because it allows us to build rapport, seek to understand others, and build communal trust. Try asking yourself,  “Am I a good listener?” What is your response?

To add to our conversations about diversity and inclusion in the PAF program and within the university as a whole, we integrated listening as a professional development competency. Fully mastering listening can be an overwhelming task, but three easy starting points to improve listening skills are:

  1. “I” Messages: By using “I” statements during conversations, you focus on the problem not the person. An I-message lets the receiver know what you feel and why. Using “I” statements also allows the speaker to make claims central to their perspective without speaking for or on behalf of an entire group of people.
  2. Restating: To show that you are listening, try to repeat what you think the person said every so often – not by mimicking, but by paraphrasing what you heard in your own words. Using this technique is beneficial for both the speaker and listener because restating shows the speaker that you are listening to what they are saying and allows the speaker the ability to clarify any misunderstandings.
  3. Empathizing: Simply put, empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of another person. Increasing empathy in the workplace is important because it serves as a catalyst for increasing trust with both leadership and other employees, ultimately creating an environment that is more conducive to productivity.

For more tips on listening, please visit: http://www.mitoaction.org/pdf/tipActiveListening.pdf

Marcus Andrews

PAF Class of 2017
AA ’13
BA '15
MPH '17