Effective Communication Listening Skills


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Listening demonstrates presence and interest in the patient, it involves active attention to what is being said verses just receiving sensory input. 

It enables the ability to:

Learn - acquire knowledge of others and make reasonable decisions

Influence - change attitudes and behaviours

Enjoy - and share pleasurable thoughts and feelings with others

Help - assist others.

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Stages of Listening

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Definition of Active Listening

Is a communication skill that requires concentration, attention and a minimal verbal response to help the speaker articulate his or her thoughts.

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Active Listening Skills

Attending Skills- non distracting environment, facial expression/eye contact, posture of involvement.

Following Skills- use of door openers, minimal encourages, infrequent considered questions, attentive silences.

Reflecting Skills - Paraphrasing (check understanding), reflect back feeling and content, summarise the major issues, clarification.

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Sit - sit to facilitate ease of sight and interaction between yourself and the other person.

Open Posture - assume a posture and facial expression the communicate interest.

Lean towards the other - lean slightly forward when listening

Eye contact - use eye contact to indicate interest.

Relax - relax in order to assist development of trust and to encourage the other to relax.

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How to listen effectively as a Health Professional


  • Prepare yourself to listen
  • Adjust to all contexts and needs
  • Tune in visibly to the other
  • Listen with your whole self
  • Focus attention fully on the other
  • Carefully observe all the non-verbal messages of the other
  • Search for the meanings of all verbal and non-verbal messages
  • Clarify the meaning
  • Consider cultural variations in listening


  • Stereotyping
  • Judging-this imposed personal belief onto others
  • Advising
  • Taking extensive notes when listening
  • Losing concentration
  • Interruptions with thoughts and ideas instead of allowing the other person to finish
  • Double guessing the meaning by making assumptions
  • Changing the foucus to yourself
  • Negative and non-supportive non-verbal behaviours
  • Passive disengagements
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