Heron Publishing: All About Reading

Listening Skills

Good listening skills are an important social asset and are the basis for good manners. They are important for school and for business. Good listening is the basis of good communication skills.

Listen and make friends in a social situation, click here

If you need to take notes in a business or school situation, click here

If you need general tips for critical listening skills, click here


Make friends and convince people of your sincere interest in them and their ideas,

  • Look them in the eye and remember to respond with appropriate facial expressions.
  • Smile, look sad, worried or whatever is appropriate so they will know you support them emotionally.
  • Don’t touch people if you don’t know them well.
  • Remember to encourage your friend to continue by saying “Tell me more about...,” “What happened next...” or even “Yes…”
  • Nod your head, and shift your position to face the speaker more directly when appropriate.

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Class timeIncrease your listening skills in a class at a lecture by taking notes.

  • Title your notes to with the title of the talk or lecture, so you will remind yourself what information you want to remember.
  • Draw pictures and cartoons or make diagrams.
  • If a teacher raises his/her voice, gestures emphatically, or repeats the information several times, that is a clue this information will be on a test.
  • If you are consulting a doctor or a lawyer, tell them their advice is important and you need to write it down, that is a complement to them. If you are very nervous or tense, ask a friend to come along and take notes for you.
  • Look at our suggestions for Note Taking Skills. (LINK)

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General tips for critical listening skills:

  • Let people know you are listening by focusing your attention on what they are saying, taking notes, or looking at them. Respond by paraphrasing; this shows that you comprehend.
  • Listen and take notes for definitions, main ideas, details and procedures.
  • Analyze what has been said by comparing and categorizing data and ideas. Summarize and integrate what has been said with other data and ideas to synthesize creative, new ideas.
  • Analyze the speaker’s intentions and motives. Then, judge the speaker’s completeness and accuracy. Decide whether or not you agree.
  • Separate facts from opinions and inferences and form your own logical conclusions.

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