Listening Tips - Polite or Rude?

Listening Tips – Polite or Rude?

Listening Tips – Polite or Rude? are easy to learn and can have a big impact on friendships, relationships, and careers. With a few simple tips we can become perfect listeners who others will seek out for enlightening conversation.

Talking and Listening = Conversation

In my previous blog post we covered the other part of conversation; talking. We explored the many, but simple to follow, talking tips. We also covered a list of appropriate and inappropriate talking topics and questions. It’s important to know how they can affect the people we interact with everyday.  See this blog post here:

Conversation is give and take. Together, talking and listening make a conversation. Remember to not hog the conversation, or do all the talking. If you don’t give the other person a chance to speak, then they will soon get bored and leave. Likewise, listen to others, so they will want to listen to you. During the times when we are not part of an ongoing conversation, it’s appropriate to just be quiet.

Being a Poor Listener can Hurt You…

If you don’t listen to your friends…

  • If you can’t be bothered to pay attention and listen to others, who will want to listen to you?
  • When you are a rude listener, you send the message to people that you don’t think they are important enough to listen to.

If you don’t listen to your teacher…

  • You might miss the announcement that a big assignment has been cancelled.
  • You might miss an opportunity to participate in a fun activity.
  • By listening, you will be ready to respond in class when called upon.
  • Listening attentively helps you to know what is going on.

If you don’t listen to your parents or caregiver…

  • They might need to give you instructions about going to a fun place or about      where and when to pick you up. You could miss a fun time.
  • They might want to tell you about a chore you don’t want to do, and afterward    tell you about a special treat that you earned by doing it.
  • They may need to tell you something that  involves your safety; not listening      could mean you might get hurt.

Listening Tips – Polite or Rude?
Polite – Likable Lindsay’s Listening List

1.  Be friendly and smile…People will be more likely to listen to you.
2. Sit or stand facing the other person…This shows that you are attentive and ready to listen.
3. Look them in the eye, not at the floor [make eye contact],,,This shows interest in the other person.
4. Give them your full attention..S
how them you are interested and want to converse with them.
5. Give them space, don’t be in their face…B
eing too close to another person makes them uncomfortable, so keep a comfortable distance.
6. Look, act, and be interested…T
hey will sense when you aren’t paying attention.
7. Nod your head to show you hear and understand…A
ffirming you understand as the conversation progresses encourages the other person to continue talking to you.
8. Respond with answers that make sense and will keep the conversation going…Y
our responses indicate your interest and enables more conversation.
9. Repeat back...To be sure you heard correctly.
10. Ask questions if you are not clear on what was said…This is better than not getting what the conversation was about.

Listening Tips – Polite or Rude?
Rude – Loser Loafer’s Listening List

1. Shifting your weight from one foot to the other
2. Yawning

3. Slouching (both sitting and standing)
4. Sighing
5. Staring at the ceiling; looking around the room or at others
6. Checking the time; looking at your watch or a clock
7. Tapping your foot
These 7 actions are nervous habits that indicate to others that you aren’t paying attention, aren’t listening, and have no interest in the person talking to you. They all
have a negative affect on you.
8. Falling asleep…You can’t get more rude than this. No-one will want to talk to you.
9. Answering with a dopey answer…This is a true indicator that you weren’t listening. It can be very embarrassing.


Have your kids or students practice talking and listening skills with a partner:
1. Role-play polite talking tips and topics with rude listening skills
2. Switch partner roles and repeat
3. Ask what they see was wrong with these conversations
4. Role-play polite talking tips and topics with polite listening skills
5. Switch partner roles and repeat.
6. Ask them to point our correct actions of others

Active Listening

All of the above tips are what we need to be a good listener. But listening today, especially in our fast-paced business world, has seen the need to adopt a more complex type of listening, called active listening. This involves much more interaction between the speaker and listener. Such things as observing body language, showing concern and empathy, and establishing rapport are key. In addition, it’s helpful to offer verbal affirmations, such as “I see,” “sure,” and “I understand.” And, you can paraphrase what is said, or offer non-verbal cues, such as nodding, This is not something young children will probably be needing, but for more information on active listening skills there are numerous sites with instructions, practice role-plays, etc. Here is one:

Listening Tips – Polite or Rude?
POEM – Think, Then Speak

Sometimes the easiest way for kids to remember things is for them to create a song, rap, or poem from the content. This poem is one of many that were written for the Cool Kind Kid Social Skills, Character Values, and Antibullying Curriculum. It appears in the Elementary School Edition in the segment on Talking and Listening.

Think, Then Speak 

Talking and listening are here to stay
They’re some of the things we do each day
You can ask your friend what his dog weighs
But don’t ask Mom, “How much do you weight?”

Some questions are good, and some taboo
Think kindness, caring, and tactful, too
Think of how someone else might feel
And how you’d feel if said to you

Tell your Pop his hair looks great today
But then don’t ask, “Is that a toupee?”
Your uncle has a new Chevrolet
Please don’t ask, “How much did you pay?”

Speak softly, clearly, be sure to smile
Give your friend a chance to talk awhile
Show others you care by listening, too
So they will want to listen to you

© CKK Educational, LLC

Research supporting teaching children listening skills [and talking skills] early.

© Barbara Gilmour


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