What Great Listeners Actually Do

What Great Listeners Actually Do!


Most people think great listeners do three things: Not talking when others are speaking, letting others know you’re listening, and being able to repeat what others have said. However, recent research suggests that these behaviors fall far short of describing good listening skills.

Researchers — Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman — share four ways that great listeners listen differently.

For network leaders, the ability to listen well is an essential skill. This article contains practical ways to improve the quality of your listening. Consider sharing the article with your network team as a team building or network development conversation.


Key Points

  1. Good listening is much more than being silent while the other person talks.
  2. Good listening included interactions that build a person’s self-esteem.
  3. Good listening was seen as a cooperative conversation
  4. Good listeners tended to make suggestions.



  • “People perceive the best listeners to be those who periodically ask questions that promote discovery and insight.”
  • “The best listeners made the conversation a positive experience for the other party”
  • “Good listeners may challenge assumptions and disagree, but the person being listened to feels the listener is trying to help, not wanting to win an argument.”
  • “Good listeners are like trampolines. They are someone you can bounce ideas off of — and rather than absorbing your ideas and energy, they amplify, energize, and clarify your thinking.”


Link to the Article:

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Jack Zenger and Joseph Falkman. Harvard Business Review. July 14, 2016   |   Archived Link

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