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Practice Active ListeningTo Get the Message

Being a strong communicator means more than speaking well. The art of listening is one of the most important —and overlooked — aspects of communication. At work or play, “tuning in and out” prevents otherwise skilled and sociable people from reaching their full potential.

Here’s a shortened personal assessment from SkillsUSA’s Professional Development Program. Note the questions you answer “yes” to, and be aware the next time you’re in the role of the listener.

  • Am I inattentive because I have more important things to think about?

  • Am I listening only to words while ignoring important nonverbal cues like facial expressions, gestures and posture?

  • Is my mind moving faster than the speaker’s voice, keeping me from concentrating?

  • Do I fail to maintain eye contact with the speaker?

  • Do I interrupt?

  • Do I think I know more about the subject than the speaker?

In all human affairs there are efforts and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result. Chance is not..
— James Allen, 1904

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SkillsUSA Champions | Summer 2002 | Volume 36, No. 4
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