We’d all like to think were good listeners, but the painful reality is that those of us who need to improve our listening skills are also the ones least likely to hear the signals that we’re falling short.

Here’s what to listen for…the signals from our loved ones, colleagues, and companions that indicate we aren’t listening as effectively as we could be:

  • How often does someone tell you, “That isn’t what I said?”
  • How often do you catch yourself in a conversation preparing your next comment instead of focusing on what is being said to you?
  • Do you ever forget information almost as soon as you’ve heard it– someone’s name, hometown, occupation.
  • Do you often find that everyone else knew the details of a plan, an event, an activity – everyone except you? And, upon further checking, someone says, “I told you that last week.”
  • Do you sometimes discover that everyone else recalls an event or conversation differently than you? Or more vividly than you?
  • Are you guilty of multi-tasking? How often?

Any of these can be signs that your listening skills could stand improvement!


Here are 10 rules to maximize your listening skills and increase customer satisfaction:

  1. Don’t interrupt. (But…but…but)
  2. Ask questions. Then be quiet. Concentrate on really listening.
  3. Prejudice will distort what you hear. Listen without prejudging.
  4. Don’t jump to the answer before you hear the ENTIRE situation.
  5. Listen for purpose, details, and conclusions.
  6. Active listening involves interpreting.
  7. Listen to what is not said. Implied is often more important than spoken.
  8. Think between sentences.
  9. Digest what is said (and not said) before engaging your mouth.
  10. Demonstrate you are listening by taking action.