How can you show your respect and regard for someone?

You can deeply listen to them.

Often I think that a lot of what holds us back as a culture is that we are never taught to deeply listen to another person. Start in your home and at your nonprofit today, and model good listening for everyone around you.

Here are seven tips for listening to your staff, peers, and superiors.

1. Establish Eye Contact if this is appropriate in your culture.

2. Turn your body towards the person. Incline your ear slightly towards them. Lean forward.

3. Don’t do anything else. Just listen. Don’t check your email, your phone, or anything.

4. Don’t assume you know what someone else is talking about and don’t jump in to interrupt.

5. Don’t get defensive. Explaining, elaborating, and defending your decision is defensive.

6. Paraphrase what the person said. Don’t parrot it back to them, but pause, reflect, and return with what you feel they said.

7. Ask good questions.

8. LISTEN (AND OBSERVE) FOR FEELINGS. When listening, do you concentrate just on the words that are being said, or do you also concentrate on the way they are being said? The way a speaker is standing, the tone of voice and inflection he or she is using, and what the speaker is doing with his or her hands are all part of the message that is being sent. A person who raises his or her voice is probably either angry or frustrated. A person looking down while speaking is probably either embarrassed or shy. Interruptions may suggest fear or lack of confidence. Persons who make eye contact and lean forward are likely exhibiting confidence. Arguments may reflect worry. Inappropriate silence may be a sign of aggression and be intended as punishment.

The Listening Quiz

Are you an effective listener? Ask a peer that you communicate with regularly and who you know will answer honestly to respond “yes” or “no” to these 10 questions.

1. During the past two weeks, can you recall an incident where you thought I was not listening to you?

2. When you are talking to me, do you feel relaxed at least 90 percent of the time?

3. When you are talking to me, do I maintain eye contact with you most of the time?

4. Do I get defensive when you tell me things with which I disagree?

5. When talking to me, do I often ask questions to clarify what you are saying?

6. In a conversation, do I sometimes overreact to information?

7. Do I ever jump in and finish what you are saying?

8. Do I often change my opinion after talking something over with you?

9. When you are trying to communicate something to me, do I often do too much of the talking?

10. When you are talking to me, do I often play with a pen, pencil, my keys, or something else on my desk?

Use your peer’s answers to grade your listening skills. If you received nine or 10 correct answers, you are an excellent listener; seven or eight correct answers indicates a good listener; five or six correct answers means you possess average listening skills; and less than five correct answers is reflective of a poor listener.

I want to know what you want. Please tell me. Takes 5 mins. Tops.