Be a Good Listener

good listener

The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”  Ralph Nichols

On a scale of one to ten, how good of a listener are you?

The value of listening cannot be overstated enough, as being one of the most effective ways to help another, and heal ourselves as well. Offering a nonjudgmental listening space can work wonders when someone is struggling.

Rarely, can we talk someone into wellness, but we can listen our way into helping another feel heard and understood.

Giving our undivided attention is not always easy; as we can get distracted and unintentionally short-circuit a conversation, by giving a one size fits all solution to what we think we heard.

Unfortunately, this can cause many problems, and misunderstanding in our relationships.

Therefore, I have provided a brief listening self-assessment inventory below, which I shared several years ago. It is a great personal growth tool, for gauging our current listening abilities and bringing attention to areas we might want to improve upon.

It is not meant to be used as a way to beat ourselves up, but rather, as a way to take an active role in improving our listening skills, so we can really hear what others are saying.

Hope you will look through the following 15 items, and congratulate yourself on all the ‘rarely’ responses you discover.


Listening Self-Assessment Inventory

(Frequently, Sometimes, Rarely)

1.   I interrupt people when they are talking.
2.   I multitask at the same time I am listening.
3.   I am uncomfortable being silent during a conversation.
4.   If someone pauses to think of a word, I give it to them.
5.   I wait for the other person to pause so I can jump in and make my point.
6.   I listen for the “gist” of what’s said rather than to each word.
7.   I stop listening if someone is too detailed or verbose.
8.   I am easily distracted while I am listening.
9.   I convey resistance, disagreement or non-interest with my body language (arms folded in front of my chest, looking around room).
10.     I fake listening.
11.     I decide the merits of the other person’s message based on his/her appearance, status, age, race, etc.
12.     I think about what’s wrong with the other person’s point/idea as I listen.
13.     I don’t give feedback to the other person about what he/she has said.
14.     I listen impatiently (fidgeting, looking at watch, etc.)
15.     I don’t make eye contact when I’m listening.


6 thoughts on “Be a Good Listener

  1. I am a good listener as people come to me for all different things, even if they don’t want an answer, but just let of what is on their heart. I am slow to answer as I always want to think of kind words. So many say to me ‘thanks for listening’. It is not easy to find a good listener in this busy world anymore, being interrupted by mobiles and other devises.

    • Excellent Ute! What a great gift you provide with your wonderful listening abilities! So true, that it can be challenging with the busyness, and electronic devises to have listening time. Glad you’ve found a way to do it.

    • I appreciate your honesty Darlene! 🙂 I have answered ‘sometimes’ to the assessment questions too! However, celebrating the ‘rarely’ responses is a lot more fun, and makes wanting more of them a great goal! Good hearing from you!

  2. This was a good post. I didnt score well so I am going to make a bigger effort to be a better listener. My friend is a good listener. It is wonderful to have a friend who both listens and believes me. I think you would be a good and kind listener. ❤

    • Thank you so much for your kind comments. What a huge compliment to be thought of as a good listener. None of us are perfect at this, but its great celebrating any progress made from our efforts. Your friend sounds very special, and so validating! We are usually like those we surround ourselves with, so she is blessed to have you as well! 🙂

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