Quiz: Discover If You’re a Good Listener!

Effective communication is a two-way street: speaking and listening. Listening doesn’t mean just not talking, active listening requires certain behaviors and attitudes. Therefore listening is an action verb.

Find out if you’re a good listener by taking the following quiz. 

1. Listening means paying attention. When I listen to someone, I focus my attention on the speaker. I look directly at him or her and concentrate on hearing what he or she is saying.

__Always __ Most of the time __Sometimes __Never

2. Listening means accepting what the other person says. When I listen to someone, I withhold judgment and accept what he or she is saying “as is.” I acknowledge what the person is saying without labeling it right or wrong, good or bad, true or false.

  __Always __ Most of the time __Sometimes __Never

3. Listening means being genuinely interested in what the other person says. When I listen to someone, I invite the speaker to give his or her opinion, say what’s on his or her mind, or say how he or she feels about the topic or issue. 

__Always __ Most of the time __Sometimes __Never

4. Listening means confirming and clarifying what I believe I heard. When I listen to someone, I reflect back for understanding with “What I heard you say is ... is that right?”

or “I think I understand what you said, but will you elaborate on ...?” or “When you say ..., do you mean...?

__Always __ Most of the time __Sometimes __Never

5. Listening means being empathetic. When I listen to someone and I begin to feel defensive or impatient or angry, I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes and appreciate what he or she might be going through.

__Always __ Most of the time __Sometimes __Never

6. Listening means being involved. When I listen to someone, I respond actively by nodding, making interjections and asking open-ended questions such as “How do you feel about that?” or “What would you have liked to do or say?”

  __Always __ Most of the time __Sometimes __Never

7. Listening means letting go of control. When I listen to someone, I don’t always jump right in with a solution, or try to fix things, or have to say the “right” thing. 

  __Always __ Most of the time __Sometimes __Never

8. Listening means not judging the speaker. When I listen to someone, I really try not to get hung up on the delivery, even if it’s awkward, hesitant or garbled, or if his or her voice or speech mannerisms are irritating.

__Always __ Most of the time __Sometimes __Never

9. Listening means withholding any rebuttal until the speaker is finished. When I listen to someone, I listen to the entire message before I mentally begin my reply, defense, argument or denial. Then, I wait for a beat or two before I start speaking to make sure I’ve let the speaker finish, and I am centered in my response.

__Always __ Most of the time __Sometimes __Never

10. Listening means paying attention to the whole message. When I listen to someone, I take in their non-verbal cues, too — facial expressions, gestures, eyes, tone of voice, and posture because I understand these can contradict or confirm the words that are used.

__Always __ Most of the time __Sometimes __Never

11. Listening means being present. Sometimes I’m unable to give my full attention to someone. When this is the case, I let the person know by saying something like, “Now’s not a good time for me to talk about this, can we discuss it later?” then agree to a specific time to have the discussion. 

__Always __ Most of the time __Sometimes __Never

Remember, just because we’re born with two ears, doesn’t mean we start life as good listeners. Becoming an active listener is an ability we learn, and like other skills, it takes practice to get better. Being a good listener is also a gift we can give to other people. Letting someone know he or she has really been heard is one of the kindest things we can do for each other.