Work on your Listening Skills

For the last three weeks in college we have been talking about skills that we need to be effective in our future careers


Of course many occupations have job specific skills but there are many skills that are common ground no matter what we do.

One of those skills is listening skills and something that I was reminded off with the situation that happened to my daughter that very day.

Just the evening before my daughter who is studying performing Arts at college had informed me that she had to be taken to a theater in Belfast for 7.30 the next morning.

“why would anyone want to go to a theater at 7.30 in the morning?

I was assured by her that this was part of her course and it amazed me that the course Tutors would expect the students to get there somehow considering that most had two parents who worked.


As I questioned the validity of this exercise my husband gallantly put himself forward to deliver my daughter to the theater.

So as I sat in my car on the way to college the phone call arrived at 7.30.

Yes   you guessed it …one does not have to be a brain surgeon to work it out that …it was meant to be 7.30 that night.

So my husband sat in traffic for one hour all because my daughter did not listen. This is just a tiny example of the consequences of not listening actively to the actual words that people say.

 Listening is one of the most important skills you can have. How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others.

  • We listen to obtain information.
  • We listen to understand.
  • We listen for enjoyment.
  • We listen to learn.

Yet most of us do not really know how to listen properly and research suggests that we remember between 25 percent and 50 percent of what we hear.

That means that when you talk to your boss, colleagues, customers or spouse for 10 minutes, they pay attention to less than half of the conversation.

This is dismal!


When I teach in class and I give out assignments for the students to write up I specifically tell them to listen to what I am going to say on what they have to do.

I purposely keep it short and simple and every single time I will get a student asking me to tell them what I have just said in the minute before.

I cannot be too hard on them because Listening is a skill that does not come naturally. It is a skill that we have to develop and work on and it is a skill that we can benefit from improving.

By becoming a better listener, you will improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate. What’s more, you’ll avoid conflict and misunderstandings. All of these are necessary for workplace success!