How Good a Listener are You?

"If speaking is silver, then listening is gold."
Turkish Proverb

The art of ‘active’ listening, as opposed to just hearing is a skill that few people take seriously enough. Those that do, benefit in several ways:

  • Increased rapport-building in almost any social or work-based situation.
  • Reduced tension and conflict when challenging situations arise.
  • Increased promotion prospects – (can you think of great listener you either dislike or disrespect?)

Fortunately, the art of listening is just like any core competency. It’s not something you are born or not born with – it can be taught, learned and developed. New Line Ideas uses practical methods to develop effective listening skills that will gain you new respect from all those that you come into contact with.

Try this quiz to gain an overall rating of your current skill level and if you would like to take things further, please get in contact with us through the ‘contact us’ page. We’re all ears! Good luck!

Please read the questions and then select the answers that fit best.
Once you have answered all the questions you will be presented with your result.

  1. I give my full attention to the person that is talking to me.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  2. When listening to a speaker, I make eye contact.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  3. If what the speaker is saying doesn't interest me, my mind wanders.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  4. I nod my head in agreement with what a speaker is saying.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  5. I tend to daydream or let my mind wander when listening to others.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  6. If I'm unsure of whether I've grasped a point correctly, I summarize my understanding back to the speaker to confirm that I've got it right.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  7. I find myself thinking about what I'm going to say next, while a speaker is talking to me.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  8. I fidget or drum my fingers on a surface when I listen to others speaking.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  9. I can block out background noise when a speaker is talking.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  10. I bite my nails or pen while I listen to someone speaking with me.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  11. If I am bored or uninterested in what someone is saying to me, I look at the ground or my feet.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  12. If someone says something I don't approve of, I make disapproving faces.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  13. I wait for a speaker to finish their point before making a mental judgement on what they said.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  14. I immediately correct a speaker if they mispronounce a word.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  15. I try to divert or end conversations that don't interest me.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  16. I get bored if I'm not the one leading a conversation, for example, choosing the topic of controlling the pace.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  17. I ask question to encourage a speaker to elaborate upon a point.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  18. If someone doesn't get straight to the point, I become impatient, e.g. tap my feet, look around or check my watch.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  19. People complain that I don't look like I'm listening when they talk to me.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  20. I briefly pause and think over what a speaker has said before replying.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  21. I summarize out loud what a speaker has said after they finish talking.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  22. I find it difficult to focus on the message if a speaker has poor grammar.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  23. I use confirmation noises, e.g. 'I see', 'uh huh', 'go on' etc. to encourage someone to continue speaking.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  24. If I disagree with something someone is saying, I will stop the speaker mid-sentence to give my opinion.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  25. If I have something relevant to add to the conversation, I find it difficult to wait until the other person has finished speaking.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  26. If a speaker is venting their emotions, I wait until they have let it all out until commenting.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  27. I play close attention to the speaker's body language.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  28. If a speaker says something I really disagree with, I make a disapproving sound. e.g. a groan or 'tsk'.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  29. I face the speaker fully when listening and will stop other tasks to look at them.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  30. If there are others talking around me, I can't help but listen in on their conversations as well as the one I'm taking part in.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  31. I finish other people's sentences for them.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  32. I would interrupt a serious discussion to take a personal call.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  33. I ask a speaker to repeat themselves because I can't remember a point they made earlier in the conversation.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  34. I tune out momentarily and have to ask a speaker to repeat a point that I missed.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  35. When a speaker is talking to me on the telephone I think about something completely un-related to the conversation I am having.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  36. I work on the computer while someone is talking to me on the telephone.

    • Almost always
    • Often
    • Sometimes
    • Not often
    • Almost Never
  • We would suggest spending some quality time and effort on developing your listening skills. It's possible that without realising it, you might sometimes alienate those around you, both in your personal life and at work.

    Don't be upset though... listening skills are like any skill and can be learnt. Particular attention needs to be paid on allowing others to finish saying what's on their mind. Simple techniques such as waiting momentarily after someone finishes speaking before you speak, or nodding whilst the speaker is talking can greatly help you to focus on getting the full message.

  • You have developed some skills in listening but they need some tweaking. One of the biggest challenges to effective listening is consistency and at present, it's this that is letting you down.

    Don't worry though... listening is a learned skill like any other and can be developed with practice. Train yourself to see in which environment or on what situations your concentration lapses - it's usually in those situations where we need to employ listening skills the most - with difficult colleagues or customers or at home with those closest to us.

  • Your score places you firmly in the 'fair to middling' grouping - most of the population as regards listening skills. During conversations you sometimes find your mind wandering.

    Good listeners will try to find at least one thing interesting in a dull topic instead of tuning out or just pretending to be interested. If, through not employing full listening skills, you end up missing important information being imparted, it can have embarrassing results. Keep in mind that we have two ears, two eyes, and only one mouth and they should be used in those proportions.

  • You have developed some good listening skills. It's possible you are involved in the communication process at work and probably receive reasonably favourable results amongst colleagues.

    We must never become complacent though. There is always room for development. Try to focus on two people, one at home and at work that you know you struggle to listen to effectively and actively work on developing three aspects of listening skills and see what happens to this relationship. You could try: watching their body language and becoming more sensitive to their movements if you interrupt, giving encouraging sounds to speakers, nodding, pausing for a moment before speaking or giving them your full attention by dropping anything you are doing.

  • You are a highly effective listener. It's probable that people around you find it pleasant to interact with you as they feel you are 'taking it all in'. You show restraint and avoid interrupting conversations. These are highly desirable skills in both social and business settings.

    In general, you have already amassed plenty of ability in listening skills but one must never become complacent. Stay focused on developing new skills in effective listening and employing them to the best of your ability, even with those you find it especially difficult to listen to.

Interested in improving your listening skills?

To benefit from an informal discussion on how New Line Ideas can help you achieve long lasting results, please contact us today.

Contact Newline Ideas