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Action point

How to answer questions with confidence

  • Thank the person for their question and pause for a moment to reflect and gather your thoughts.
  • Repeat the question to confirm that you have understood it correctly.
  • Answer the question as best as you can – being direct and clear.
  •  Check with the person that you have answered the question to their satisfaction – remember this is not the same as providing them with the answer they wanted!
  • Thank the individual for their question and interest.

Auditing your listening skills

Below is a quick guide to identifying if you are a good or bad listener. To improve your skills apply the rules and avoid the negative behav­iours, or at least be conscious of them.

Key listening rules The bad listener The good listener
Try to identify areas of common interest or ground Rejects boring subjects Asks ‘What’s in it for me?’
Assess the content of what is said and not just the delivery Rejects message and information if the delivery is poor or distracting Listens for content. Able to overcome errors and mannerisms
Don’t evaluate too quickly what is said Argues Clarifies before commenting
Listen for any ideas that may lie behind what is being said Listens only for facts, concepts or feelings Listens for issues and themes behind the details
Avoid external distractions Is easily distracted Fights or avoids distractions, tolerates bad habits and knows how to concentrate
Exercise your brain when faced with something new or difficult Rejects/refuses diffi­cult materials Views complex material as a chal- lenge/opportunity to learn
Try to stay open- minded Rejects emotional words or issues Interprets emotion­ally charged words or statements. Does not ignore them
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