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The Listening Dilemma

Let us set the scene. We speak at a rate of approximately 150 words per minute, but we can hear at a rate of 1 000 words per minute. One would think that we listen more, but we don't.

Are you an effective listener? Have a look at the questionnaire below and rate yourself.

The Listening Questionnaire:

​When listening to another person, I...

  1. Get distracted

2. Listen only to the facts

3. Interrupt

4. Assume the other person already knows

5. Prejudge

6. Tune out

7. Ignore non-verbal cues

To obtain your score for each item, use one of the following below to ascertain if you do that thing always, often or never

Always (1 point)

Usually (2 points)

Often (3 points)

Rarely (4 points)

Never (5 points)

Listening Questionnaire Scoring

31-35 points = Effective listener

21-30 points = Good listener

14-20 points = Not-so-good listener

13 points or less = hayi ke sisi/bhuti, what is going on?

What was your score? Favourable? Not so favourable? There's always room for improvement.

So, here are some listening tips:

1. Paraphrase the message to the speaker in order to confirm if you comprehend what was said

2. Repeat the message to help you remember what was said

3. Probe for any missing information

4. Clarify what you may have not understood. Keep asking - you're not stupid, you just need clarity. Once you have clarity, you will know how to proceed better

5. Remember the important points for future reference. You may not have the luxury of the speaker repeating their words, so you have to do your best to remember what was said, especially if you are required to do a task more than once in future


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