As bureaucracies are flattened and autonomy and decision making are pushed further and further down into the organization, listening becomes not just important, but vital. Managers, team leaders, and employees must listen in order to:

  • Gather information in order to participate in the decision-making process.

    A lot of this information is received verbally from others—managers, coworkers, customers, or suppliers.

  • Serve as a resource to others.

    Getting others to cooperate involves more than just telling them what is required. It involves hearing others’ suggestions and explanations as well.

  • Analyze problems and evaluate results.

    Most people need input from others to do this most effectively.

  • Understand the diversities of those whom they manage, direct, or support.

    Listening to others is the best source for understanding the uniqueness of others.

Listen First to Understandfocuses on the skill of listening. Participants learn to demonstrate listening in order to receive information accurately, defuse emotionally-charged situations, and respond nondefensively in the face of disagreement.

Course Overview

Participants begin by assessing their communication response style to gain awareness of their typical listening behaviors. They gain understanding of the listening process and its importance in daily interactions.

An experiential activity in which participants become acutely aware of their ineffective listening behaviors allows participants to identify six “typical listening responses” which turn out not to be listening responses at all. Participants learn that it’s not enough to say “I hear you” or “I understand how you feel.” More importantly, they learn to demonstrate their listening.

Participants learn three responses that can be used to gain clarification or confirmation of their understanding of the speaker’s message. Behavior modeling through video and workbook examples allows participants to see the effectiveness of the skills. Interactive exercises allow participants to practice the skills both in routine situations as well as difficult or stressful situations.

Nondefensive listening is practiced in the face of disagreement or when receiving criticism. This helps the listener not only to understand, but also to maintain control of personal responses and feelings, thus promoting satisfactory resolution of the disagreement.

Course Objectives

Specific objectives for course participants are:

  • Identify individual listening styles
  • Identify ineffective and effective listening responses
  • Understand the listening process
  • Use the following effective listening responses to defuse strong feelings, avoid misunderstanding, and solve problems:
    • Reflect feelings
    • Reflect content
    • Ask for clarification
  • Use nondefensive listening to handle disagreement and criticism


  • 1 Set of Skill Cards
  • 1 Communication Response Style Assessment
  • 1 Workshop Evaluation
  • 1 Certificate of Completion

LENGTH: 1/2 DAY or 1 DAY

Price: $69.95


Call 800.282.3374 to order. We accept all major credit cards.