Effective Listening

Workplace Skills

This SGL can be submitted to your employee training record.

1. What it is

Effective listening is much more than just hearing words. It involves understanding the full meaning of what is being said and communicating that understanding to the other person. Whether someone is asking you questions, sharing information, expressing their needs or concerns, using effective listening skills can make a significant difference in your interactions and work at UMass.  

What you will learn from this module: 

  • Understanding of your strengths and areas to improve
  • Essential techniques to enhance your listening
  • Exercises to sharpen your listening skills

2. What I know

  • Think of three people with whom you work.  How would each of them describe how you listen?

Three coworkers giving feedback

  • Take this quiz to gain a better understanding of your areas of strength and areas for improvement.

3. How I can improve

Effective listening involves both Active Listening skills and Cross-Cultural Communication skills.

  • Practice Active Listening

Watch this video and answer the questions to learn how to use active listening techniques so you receive the complete message.

Review the <Learning Aid for Active Listening> to understand key elements of this skill and to learn helpful questions to use for different types of conversations.

  • Improve your cross-cultural active listening 

View Printable Guide on <Active Listening across Cultures>

  • Exercise Your Listening

Learn some daily exercises that might improve your listening skills through this video.  

  • Ask for Feedback

Once you have started putting your new listening strategies into practice, seek feedback on how you have improved. This will give insight into what you are doing well, what you need to do differently, and what else you may need to improve.

Think of 2-3 people whom you trust and ask them questions, such as: 

  • What do I say and do that make you feel I am paying attention to what you are saying?
  • Do I interrupt when you speak?
  • Do you feel heard when I’m listening to you? What do I say and do that makes you feel heard?

If there is still room for improvement, you can:

  • Review the strategies in this module.
  • Ask for specific examples of what you are not doing well and see if there are patterns (such as, you tend to interrupt as soon as an idea pops into your head). Having more awareness of your tendencies will help you focus on exactly what you need to improve.
  • Continue practicing, asking for feedback, and paying attention to how you are listening and how others respond to your listening.

4. What I have learned 

Take this quiz to check what you have learned so far. 

5. Module Evaluation

Thank you for completing this module.

Please click on the link below to complete the module evaluation. Your feedback will help guide future planning and improvements. We greatly appreciate your input. 

Self-Guided Learning Evaluation

6. Training Completion Form

If you are a current UMass employee, please submit the Training Completion Form only after you complete the Self-Guided Learning Module selected.

By submitting this form, you confirm that you have completed that Self-Guided Learning Module. We will then be able to record your successful completion in your University learning and development transcript.