User Guides

How to Be a Good Listener

Download as PDF

Listening is key to most relationships. We all know how it feels when someone pretends to listen, but does not give us their full attention. Mentoring requires strong listening skills.
A good listener hears not only what’s said, but also what’s left unsaid. 

Here are some tips to become a better listener -

1. Be present

First, put your phone on silent and keep it aside. Face your body towards the other person, and if culturally appropriate, make eye contact. Show you are interested. Check your posture–are you relaxed and open? Give your full attention.

2. Stop talking and just listen

So often we do not give other people the space to talk. We interrupt them, finish their sentences, or talk over them. This shuts the other person down. Be silent. Give non-verbal cues showing you are listening. Allow for pauses so your mentoring partner can think more deeply.

3. Remove distractions

If you are meeting virtually, set your cameras in a way that you can make eye contact. Remove distractions. Avoid distracting behaviors such as doodling, checking your phone and yawning. Offer your undivided attention. 

4. Be non-judgmental

Try to remove your prejudices and judgments from your interaction. Keep an open mind and fully listen. Show empathy. Try to step into your partner’s shoes and understand their perspective. 

5. Pay attention to non-verbal communication

Watch your partner and notice their gestures, expressions and body language. Are you sensing how they are feeling? What are they saying through their body language?

Did you find this guide helpful?


Up Next

How to Prepare for Your Mentoring Meeting as a Mentee

To make your meeting productive, plan to spend at least 30 minutes preparing.
2 mins

To make your meeting productive, plan to spend at least 30 minutes preparing. Think about the following:  

  1. Task list: Were you able to complete your tasks? If not, why?
  2. Notes: Use the Notes section to reflect and write down your thoughts and ideas. If you keep a journal, go through it and reflect on what’s happened in your life and career since your last meeting.
  3. Goals: Are you on track to achieve your goals? Do you need to adjust them?
  4. New Issues: What new issues/questions do you want to discuss?
  5. Sessions: Schedule meetings and send an agenda at least a few days before.
  6. Set the agenda - An agenda or discussion topics give the meeting a clear purpose and help both partners stay on track.

To Schedule a Session, go to the Mentorship Tab and select View Relationship. You will see a button to propose a session.  Fill out the information for the session. If both parties have synchronized their calendars, you can set up a date, time, topic and set an agenda for your session. You can also choose your preferred video conferencing platform so that you don’t have to set up new meetings every time you schedule a mentoring session.