Listening: the process of receiving, constructing meaning from, and responding to spoken and/or nonverbal messages – International Listening Association.
Check your own listening skills in business situations with this self-assessment.
Think about yourself in stressful circumstances. The real test of one’s listening capabilities is in tense situations, which can have the highest potential rewards or costs.
Listening is also context driven: we often listen well in one arena and poorly in others.
By becoming aware of your listening patterns you can take steps to cultivate this strategic skill.
Also the higher the stakes, the more difficult – and important – it is to listen well.
There are no “right” or “wrong” answers to these questions. They describe specific behaviours used in determining whether people are perceived as good or poor listeners.
Read each question carefully. Then determine from the rating scale how frequently you typically use the behaviors described in the environment you are considering. Use Jim Collins’ (Good to Great) ethic of “Face the Brutal Facts.” Be as honest as you can be.
Read each statement.
Enter the number that best indicates how much you do of that behavior ranging from:
1 = seldom
2 = occasionally
3 = sometimes
4 = often
5 = almost always
0 = don’t know
_____ 1. I am patient during conversations and meetings.
_____ 2. I respect others’ ideas and words regardless of our business, social, or economic status.
_____ 3. I give full attention, am not preoccupied with other concerns when in conversation.
_____ 4. I ask clarifying questions about points that are technical or misunderstood.
_____ 5. I prepare or become informed when preparation or knowledge is necessary.
_____ 6. I reflect back what I’ve heard the person say to make sure I understand.
_____ 7. I take notes when notes are appropriate, then review the key points to summarize our conversation.
_____ 8. I keep focused on the topic until there is proper closure or agreement.
_____ 9. I can accurately recall comments or positions at a later date.
____ 10. I follow up with prompt actions based on clearly articulated agreements.
____ 11. I encourage others to give their views on subjects under discussion.
____ 12. I can keep my personal biases in check so I listen with an open mind.
____ 13. I am not defensive or emotional when encountering a difficult situation.
____ 14. I really do listen, not just go through the motions.
____ 15. I smile or otherwise acknowledge humorous remarks.
____ 16. I correctly anticipate where the conversation is going.
____ 17. I accurately relate messages to a third party when needed.
____ 18. I maintain comfortable eye contact with speaker.
____ 19. I let others finish without interrupting.
____ 20. I do not take outside calls and distractions during meetings and conversations.
____ 21. I repeat, paraphrase, or summarize comments to ensure understanding.
____ 22. I think about the subject under discussion before responding.
____ 23. I put myself “in others shoes” to understand their concerns and feelings.
____ 24. I avoid emotion-packed (trigger) words, phrases, or clichés.
____ 25. I consider content and logic and am not critical of others delivery, appearance, grammar, vocabulary, etc.
____ 26. I produce results consistent with agreed upon instructions or guidelines.
TOTAL = ________________ Net Total = My Score – 25 = _________________
Why minus 25? Because research tells us that when we do self-assessment we over-inflate our abilities.
Less than 77 – I’d better improve my listening skills ASAP if I ever hope to experience satisfying business and personal relationships.
52 – 77 – I could really increase my business and personal success by learning how to become a much more effective listener. I can alienate people. People think I don’t really care about what they have to say.
78 – 103 – I’m a good listener. However, sometimes people get impatient with me because I’m not listening to them. There are some areas I need to work on.
104 – 130 – I am a very highly skilled listener. People tell me this all the time.