Conversation Tip #2: Listen louder!

Without listening, there’s no conversation

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

“There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.”

-Simon Sinek (1973- ) English businessman, author and philanthropist

Do your students pay attention to what others are saying in a conversation? About half the conversation should be spent listening to what the other person has to say; after all, the students aren’t giving a presentation! As mentioned in the first conversation tip, people have compelling and unique things to bring to the table–so it’s important to listen to what they have to say!

Giving the person undivided attention demonstrates respect–and good manners. Interrupting or disregarding the other side is detrimental to good conversation. For everyone to leave feeling good about the interaction, consideration and civility must be part of the equation.

Perhaps most importantly, students should listen louder. What does this mean? Listen for tone, voice inflections and other meaning conveyed without words. American writer Ernest Hemingway famously stated, “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” Students, too, can take away significant information if they listen louder.

How do you encourage your students to listen? What can you learn when you’re not speaking?

Ask More. Know More. Share More.
Create Compelling Conversations.

Jessica Lu, a first-year student at the University of Chicago, interned for Chimayo Press and the Compelling Conversations blog through the summer of 2014. Over the months, she has perused ESL textbooks, analyzed newspaper articles and tested out mobile apps, seeking out ways to inspire discussion. During the fall, the Compelling Conversations blog published her top 10 tips to create compelling conversations outside of the English classroom.

Photo Source: “Mother and daughter talking” by Linda Bartlett (Photographer) – This image was released by the National Cancer Institute, an agency part of the National Institutes of Health, with the ID 2082 (image) (next).This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.English | Français | +/−. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons –

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