96: Building Rapport & Listening Skills



Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 3.51.08 PM

Thinking Instead of Listening:

  • We can speak at 150 words / minute
  • We can think at 450 – 600 words / minute
  • Fast thoughts can create a distracting back chatter that makes listening challenging
  • Covey – We don’t listen to understanding; we listen to reply.

7 Barriers to Listening:

  1. Rehearsing a response:
    • mentally practicing to say your part
  2. False reassurances:
    • nod head like you’re listening, but you’re really looking for an opening to speak
  3. Cliches:
    • offer false cliches to appear like you’re paying attention
  4. Misdirected quotes:
    • ask questions that divert person from what they were saying before understanding it
  5. Not focusing:
    • paying attention to details outside the conversation
  6. Daydreaming:
    • paying attention to inside thoughts rather than conversation
  7. Selective listening:
    • catch a few words and pretend to listen

Good Listening Skills:  For more tips for building listening skills, go here.

  1. Don’t talk
  2. Nod head occasionally
  3. Softly look at person without staring
  4. Move away or look away from distractions
  5. Open body posture – don’t cross arms, don’t look at watch
  6. Give brief verbal acknowledgements – “Really”, “Wow”, “Interesting”, …
  7. Pace responses – if you give too may they’ll think you’re getting impatient or bored
  8. Ask clarifying questions

Building Rapport:

  • Listening – see above
  • Make deposits into emotional bank account:
    • deposit actions include: asking for ideas, listening, acknowledging their ideas, providing resources, etc
    • withdrawals include: asking for favors, negative feedback, etc.
  • Find things shared in common besides work
  • Be aware of attending behavior (how you look and act while you listen)
    • if your attending behavior includes off-putting stuff like frowning – make an effort to fix it
  • Match and mirror their communication style, learning style, or problem solving approaches
Our brain is wired in such a way that good listening is a challenge.  Practicing good listening skills enhances communication and builds rapport.  Learning how to practice skills that build rapport will help one be a more charismatic leader and team player.  Teaching and practicing listening and rapport-building skills will help teachers and students to interact in ways that make deposits into persons’ emotional bank accounts.



Preparation Steps

  • Design lessons and related resources that teach students how to improve their listening and rapport-building skills.

Early Implementation Steps

  • Early on in the year and in projects, facilitate workshops and activities that build students’ listening skills and the rapport they feel for each other.
  • While scaffolding these skills – offer modeling, practice opportunities, and encouraging feedback.
  • Have students reflect on how practicing these skills is affecting their team’s morale, relationships, and communication.

Advanced Implementation Steps

  • Periodically have students deliberately practice listening and practice building rapport.
  • Have students reflect on what makes these practices challenging and what they can improve in order to make their efforts feel and be perceived as more sincere

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *