Active listening is the intentional practice of not just hearing the words spoken, but observing non-verbal messages that are being sent, and providing appropriate feedback to show attentiveness and understanding. This self-assessment will help you to identify ways you might strengthen your active listening skills.
Answer YES or NO to each of the statements below, keeping track of your total yes responses.
While someone is talking, I…
- Close the door or remove other distractions in my area.
- Do not respond to emails, messages, or digital notifications.
- Maintain good eye contact.
- Take notes as appropriate.
- Stay focused on the topic; my mind doesn’t wander.
- Don’t mentally rehearse or prepare my response at the same time.
- Pay attention to their body language, not just their words.
- Try to understand the emotions behind the words.
- Maintain an open mind until they’ve finished.
- Don’t interrupt them.
- Don’t feel the need to fill moments of silence.
- Ask questions to encourage the speaker to elaborate.
- Paraphrase what I heard to confirm understanding.
How many YES answers do you have?
- If your total number of YES answers is less than 7, you should focus on improving your listening skills.
- If your total number of YES answers is between 7 and 12, you are a good listener with room for improvement.
- If your total number of YES answers is 12 or more, you are an active listener.
Review your “no” answers to identify areas for improvement.