In a previous post, we discussed possible barriers to listening effectively for managers. This post will look at five skills managers can demonstrate to listen effectively.


  • Display the slide titled – HOW DO WE LISTEN EFFECTIVELY?




  • Read out the information on the slide and use it to set them up for a group activity.
  • Use the ‘breakout rooms’ function to split them into small groups.
  • The activity each group will work on is in the part of their workbooks titled – HOW DO WE LISTEN EFFECTIVELY?
  • Give them 10-minutes to do the activity.



We already know that listening is very important but at the same time there are some barriers that can prevent us from being effective listeners, so what actions can we take to listen effectively.

In your group discuss how managers can listen effectively.

What skills or behaviours should they demonstrate to be effective listeners?

Note down your answers and be ready to share them with the whole group after the discussion.

Please choose a spokesperson who will feedback your answers.

Remember, you have 10-minutes for the discussion.


  • When the 10-minutes is up, stop them and bring everyone back to the main room.
  • Thank them for doing the activity and then allow each small group to give their feedback. Listen to them quietly.
  • After they finish, appreciate them for the feedback then tell them that:
    • We can categorise the listening techniques you’ve talked about under five broad techniques.
  • Display the slide titled – EFFECTIVE LISTENING TECHNIQUES.





  • Click on the slide to display the first skill – Non-verbal Behaviour.
  • Tell them that:
    • Non-verbal behaviour is a very important listening skill.
    • It is the behaviour you demonstrate to show that you are listening to people without saying anything.
    • This includes giving people appropriate eye contact while they are talking.
    • Encouraging the person to speak with your body language such as your facial expressions which should be congruent to the nature of the conversation. For example putting on a light smile when the conversation is less serious but looking more sombre when the conversation is serious.
    • Nodding occasionally to show you are listening and maintaining an open and interested body posture.
  • Click on the slide again to display the second skill – Attention. Tell them that:
    • Give the speaker your undivided attention and acknowledge the message. Non-verbal behaviour will help you to pay attention.
    • You can do things such as, look at the speaker directly, put aside distracting thoughts, prevent yourself from mentally preparing a response, find ways not to be distracted by environmental factors such as side conversations and be aware of the speakers body language, what is it telling you?
  • Click on the slide to display the third skill which is – Reflect and Clarify.
    • Reflecting is closely repeating or paraphrasing what the speaker has said in order to show comprehension.  Reflection is a powerful skill that can reinforce the message of the speaker and demonstrate understanding.
    • Reflect on what has been said by paraphrasing saying things such as. “What I’m hearing is… ,” and “Sounds like you are saying… ,” are great ways to reflect back.
    • Clarifying involves asking questions of the speaker to ensure that the correct message has been received.  Clarification usually involves the use of open questions which enables the speaker to expand on certain points as necessary. Also, ask questions to clarify certain points. “What do you mean when you say… .” “Is this what you mean?”
  • Click on the slide again to display the fourth skill – Summarising. Tell them that:
    • Summarise the speaker’s comments periodically. Repeating a summary of what has been said back to the speaker is a technique used by the listener to repeat what has been said in their own words. Summarising involves taking the main points of the received message and reiterating them in a logical and clear way, giving the speaker a chance to correct  you, if necessary.
  • Click the slide for a final time to display the last skill which is – Non-judgemental, respond appropriately. Tell them that:
    • Effective listening requires you go into the conversation with a non-judgemental attitude.
    • You will have to stop yourself intentionally from making judgements about the person or what they are saying.
    • Your aim is to listen to the facts. Don’t interrupt because this is a waste of time and it frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message.
    • Allow the speaker to finish each point before asking questions. Don’t interrupt with counter arguments.
    • Effective listening should encourage respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective from what the speaker is saying. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting her down.
    • When you respond, be candid, open and honest in your response and present your opinions in a respectful manner.
    • Treat the other person in a way that you think they would want to be treated.
  • After that, ask them for any comments or questions about what you just told them. Listen to any questions and comments they have and respond appropriately (if necessary).
  • Tell them that there is a conversation in their workbooks titled – THE BIG RED BRUISE. Give them about 5-minutes to read it. They should look out for instances of effective listening.



Obi manages a team of six people, today she is meeting with one of her team leaders, Ola, to discuss an issue that recently happened.

Obi: Hello Ola, how are you? (he is sitting diagonally from Ola and looking directly at her)

Ola: I’m fine, thank you. What about you?

Obi: I am okay too, thank you. I want to talk to you about the safeguarding issue that you phoned me about yesterday. Please, can you tell me what happened? (Obi is looking quite sombre because this is a serious issue).

Ola: I went to say good morning to Dilly in his room around 9.30am. I knocked the door and he let me in. I noticed that he was holding his left arm. When I asked what was wrong, he showed me a big red bruise and I asked him about what happened.

Obi: (Obi is was looking at Ola directly, nodding her head with the occasional ‘uh hmm’ sound and looking serious).

Ola: He said that he fell down while running three days ago and bruised his arm.

Obi: If you please stop for a minute. Let me make sure I understand. You went into Obi’s room around 9.30am yesterday. Is that right?

Ola: Yes.

Obi: And you noticed him holding his arm. You asked him what was wrong and he showed you a red bruise.

Ola: Yes, that is correct.

Obi: And when you asked him what was wrong, he said he fell down three days ago while running and bruised his arm.

Ola: Exactly, that’s what he said.

Obi: Thank you, what else did he tell you?

Ola: He told me that Sophia, saw the bruise but he told Sophia that it is okay and not to worry about it.

Obi: So, Dilly told Sophia about the bruise but told her not to worry about it?

Ola: Yes, that’s what Dilly said.

Obi: And did Sophia record this anywhere or tell you or anyone else about it?

Ola: I have not seen any records of it and she didn’t tell me either. I also don’t know if she told anyone. That’s why I called to speak to you about it.

Obi: Please, let me get this right. You are not aware that Sophia recorded it anywhere or tell anyone about it. She also did not tell you about the issue.

Ola: No, she didn’t.

Obi: Thanks Ola, let me investigate this further. I will speak to you again.


  • After the 5-minutes is up, ask them for instances of effective listening that they picked up from the conversation. Listen to them for 5-minutes.
  • They should have picked up skills such as eye contact, a congruent expression, clarifying, summarising, reflecting and asking questions.
  • At this point in the session you shiould stop for a 10-15-minutes break.

In the next post we will see the delegates observing a demonstration of effective listening skills.

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