Building the skill of... listening

“When you talk you are only repeating what you already know, when you listen you might learn something new.”

Dalai Lama

Being able to hear does not necessarily mean that you are a good listener. How many times have you only half listened to someone as you were thinking of what you wanted to say next or interrupting? If your teacher or manager gives you instructions, are you able to recall and act upon them?

If you answered yes to both of those, you’re certainly ahead of this author! But, how about able to listen to someone and critically analysing what they’re saying, being aware of their biases and your own?

Being a good listener is not only key to learning, but also to gathering the necessary information to ask the right questions to solve problems. As such, it will  come as no surprise to you that strong listening skills are possessed by the best technicians as being able to communicate and interpret what others are saying accurately is a key part of their role.

Take for instance, Senior Software Developer, Peter who works at the world-renowned, Wellcome Sanger Institute:

“Our work is based on tickets from users around the Institute – they send through what they want to see in their IT and we pick them up. After you’ve picked one then you normally go speak to the user, see what it is they really need. You can never quite know exactly what they’re after until you’ve asked the right questions – so you need really good communication skills! Then you’ll sit down and figure out the best way to get what they need done.”  

Could your listening skills do with a polish? Check out the Skills Builder platform, which has exercises to strengthen your key skills and abilities. 

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