Active listening skills

Successful listening occurs when:

'It sounds obvious to say that mentors should listen carefully to their mentee, but human perception does tend to be selective. People become skilfully economical at picking up only a minimum of what is said; ourself is the interesting thing for us, the other person can seem boring if not an actual pain (and mentors are certainly going to come across this problem). So, we hear the easily noticed bits and unconsciously fill in the gaps with our own interpretations and agenda.

In the face of this, then, it's worth emphasising that effective listening needs to be more thorough and open-minded, giving time, opportunity and encouragement for the person's actual message to get through.'

Tomlinson (1995)

print - back to scenario