Stop and Listen


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This reminds me of the single most useful thing that I have read:  The Lost Art of Listening by Michael Nichols. He writes that people rarely listen to each other and  details exactly how we fail to listen to each people. I found it to be an educational. Dr. Nichols main message we could use here at Prosper student care? is “be quite!” Don’t interrupt the speaker and listen. Wait.And then realize  “..Listening isn’t a need we have; it’s a gift we give…” to our students and people we care about.

Guidelines for Great Listening Skills 

Be interested and attentive.  Students can tell whether they have your interest and attention by the way the rep replies or does not reply.  Forget about the things around you and other distractions.  Maintain your attion to show that you really are with the child.   

Encourage talking.  Some students need an invitation to start talking.  There are some students that are more likely to share their ideas and feelings when others think them important.    

Listen patiently.  People think faster than they speak.  Children often take longer than adults to find the right word.  Listen as though you have plenty of time.      

Hear the student out.  Avoid cutting them off before they have finished speaking.  It is easy to form an opinion or reject someones views before they finish what they have to say.  It may be difficult to listen respectfully and not correct misconceptions, but respect their right to have and express their opinions.    

Listen to nonverbal messages.  Many messages people send are communicated nonverbally by their tone of voice, , their energy level, their posture, or changes in their behavior patterns.(check coaching notes and other CMS notes for  changes in their behavior patterns) You can often tell more from the way a student says something than from what is said.             

Improving Communication         

Avoid dead-end questions.  After listening ask the kinds of questions that will extend interaction rather than cut it off.  Questions that,  require a yes or no or right answer lead a conversation to a dead end.  Questions that ask a person to describe, explain, or share ideas extend the conversation. 

Extend conversation.  Try to pick up a piece of the students conversation.  Respond to his or her statements by asking a question that restates or uses some of the same words used.  When you use the student’s own phrasing or terms, you strengthen their confidence in their conversational and verbal skills and reassure them that their ideas are being listened to and valued. 

Share your thoughts.  Share what you are thinking with the student.  For instance, if you are trying to figure out a coach change , get the student involved with questions such as, “I’m not sure  what type of personality you would prefer in a coach, one who will be more advanced  or intermediate ?.  What do you think would be best for you?”   

Observe signs.  listen to the student for signs that it is time to end a conversation.  When a student begins to  give silly responses, or ask you to repeat several of your comments, it is probably time to stop the exchange.   

Reflect feelings.  One of the most important skills good listeners have is the ability to put themselves in the shoes of others or empathize with the speaker by attempting to understand his or her thoughts and feelings.  As a caring person , try to mirror the students feelings by repeating them.  You might reflect feelings by commenting, “It sounds as if you’re angry at your coach.”  Restating or rephrasing what children have said is useful when they are experiencing powerful emotions that they may not be fully aware of.  

Help clarify and relate experiences.  As you listen, try to make the students feelings clear by stating them in your own words. 
 (Based from
How Can Parents Model Good Listening Skills? by Carl Smith)           



Filed under Listening Skills

4 responses to “Stop and Listen

  1. jlopour

    I think that this article is helpful because it reminds us of things that we can do to improve our relations with our customers. I think that it gives us some good reminders of what we should be doing already when talking with our students. When speaking to complete strangers over the phone it is a little tricky because you have to communicate only through speech. Usually when you communicate to others they can see your body language and other visual queue to use when they interpret what you are saying, and what you mean by it. When we get a call from a student it is usually with a frustration or problem with our product. If they do not think that we are listening to them they get even more frustrated and by using these tips we can minimize that frustration and help the customer so that they will continue to use our services.

  2. themeatsollami

    This reminds me of an article that my team just read about setting expectations and having the ability to listen with real intent and answer with sincerity. The article can be found with the following link.
    In this article it describes how to resolve the issues with great customer service, it also gives a list of DO’s and DON’Ts, it is an inspiring article that I feel like it will increase the confidence and trust of the students will have when dealing with the student care department whether it be ESI, Student Relations or Pulled Sales. Being there for the student will be the best thing for a student care representative. The students can hear the tone of your voice if you are truly trying to help the student with the issues that they are having. Letting the students know that you know what you are talking about helps them understand that you understand their problem.

  3. Steve Bigelow

    I am so gratified by the fact that Devon Willis has become so much more than his Teachers. A true Teacher’s greatest desire is for his students to far surpass his own accomplishments. There is no greater reward. I had the privilege of being part of Devon’s evolution in his journey, as an instructor and founder of Executive Security International, Ltd. during his training to become what he is now. I know that my journey has been worth all its cost because of Devon’s pushing on through the limits of his Teacher’s capabilities. The eternal progression towards perfect understanding in God’s eternal plan of unconditional love and caring towards the meek inheriting the Earth. I am still learning everyday from my students. I bless his journey in my own inadaquate way, knowing that I have served the Lord’s plan in some way.

    Steve Bigelow
    ESI Founder and Instructor

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