Are You a Good Listener?

Updated: Apr 13

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening

when you'd preferred to talk. Doug Larson

The word L I S T E N contains the same letters as the word S I L E N T. A coincidence? Maybe not. People tend to rate themselves higher of the good listener scale then they actually are. We think we are listening because we can hear. But do we really grasp the importance of listening, or even understand what it means to listen?


Hands down, experts agree the great communication is built on great listening. Listening is different from hearing. Hearing is a physiological response to sound. All people who do not suffer physical impairments can hear. Not all those that can hear, know how to listen.

Here’s a little self-evaluation exercise to help you pin down just how good you are at listening. Rate yourself, on a scale of 1-5, on each statement: 1-very low 5-very high


_______1. I enjoy listening to people express their ideas.

_______2. I encourage other people to talk.

_______3. I listen, even when I don’t particularly like the person talking.

_______4. The gender of the person talking makes no difference in how I listen.

_______5. I listen equally well to a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.

_______6. I put away what I am doing while someone is talking.

_______7. I look at the person talking.

_______8. I am generally open to new ideas.

_______9. I ignore distractions while listening to a person talk.

_______10. I have been told I am a good listener by co-workers.

_______11. I have been told I am a good listener by my spouse and children.

_______12. I smile, nod my head, and otherwise encourage the person to share.

_______13. I concentrate on what the person is saying.

_______14. I set my personal and professional agenda aside while listening.

_______15. I want to understand the other person’s point of view.

_______16. I seek to understand why the person is saying what they are saying.

_______17. I try not to interrupt the person talking.

_______18. If the person is frustrated and hesitates, I encourage them to continue.

_______19. I restate what the person has said and ask if I got it right.

_______20. I listen no matter the person’s tone of voice or attitude.

_______21. I don’t anticipate what the person is going to say—I just listen.

_______22. I look forward to hearing what others think and feel.

_______23. I ask questions to get ideas explained more fully.

_______24. I ask for clarification of words if I don’t understand their context.

_______25. I believe that listening carefully is a form of respect.

_______26. I believe that listening is an effective tool for success.

_______27. I respect people who listen to me.

_______28. I make time to listen.

_______29. I believe that listening helps me do a better job.

_______30. I withhold all judgments about the person’s idea or message until I have heard all the person has to say.


Add up the point value of your ratings and score yourself as follows: 150 You are a great listener. Keep up the good work.

129 You are a pretty good listener.

100 You may be missing some important information.

85 Your listening skills need to be strengthened 70 Your lack of listening skill is limiting your success in life.

55-under It might be a good idea to have your ears checked.


Personality and relationship expert Dawn Billings is the author and architect of the Primary Colors Relationship Personality Tests and founder of RelationshipHelp.com a web portal that provides information for people who want to strengthen their struggling relationships.

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