Listening skills and responding to others

Being a good listener is not just about being quiet when someone is speaking. Listening skills are about actively listening to what other members of the group have to say, and then responding to the points they have made. It is perfectly acceptable to either agree or disagree with what another member of the group has said as long as you do it in the right way.

Some points to remember

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with what someone has said, it is important that you wait until they have finished speaking before you begin talking.

Remember not to belittle other people’s opinions. You can disagree with them without trying to suggest that your opinion is the only one that counts. Some examples of appropriate things to say are:

  • I agree with the point your making, and I’d like to add…
  • That is an interesting point, however I feel that…
  • I can see why you believe that, but I feel…
  • Although that is a very valid opinion, I feel that…
  • On the other hand, it is also possible to believe that…

Sentence starters such as these will help you to put your point across in a convincing but polite manner.

It’s important to show you are an active listener. Remember to try and move the conversation forward, particularly if the discussion is beginning to falter or if the same comments are being repeated several times. See if you can pick up on the things people say, respond to them appropriately and help move the discussion forward.