To achieve Step 0, individuals will have to be able to listen to others, without interrupting.
This is the first step in building this skill, and provides the foundation for more advanced steps in Listening.
The building blocks of this step are learning:
Listening is about being able to receive information through our ears, and then thinking about it so that we understand what is being said.
We cannot listen if we do not try to, if anything is in the way of our ears, or if we are thinking about something else.
It is important to listen because:
Interrupting is stopping what someone is saying. You might do this by speaking, or by looking away or doing something that shows that you have stopped listening.
We might interrupt for different reasons – including some positive reasons:
Often though, we interrupt for less positive reasons:
Interrupting others causes several problems:
We can all get better at not interrupting others. At the start, this will have to be a deliberate approach of actively thinking about how we are behaving and thinking.
Over time, as with all skill development, this will become more of an automatic habit, and not something that requires the same level of thought and attention.
Some strategies to try out are:
If you have to interrupt – for example, because you have run out of time for a conversation, or because there is an emergency – then you can still do this politely and apologetically.
In school or college, we spend lots of our time studying and learning. To learn, we need to follow instructions, build up our understanding of different subjects and topics and work with others. We cannot listen if we do not try to. When studying, listening is vital in order to remember important information.
Interrupting, or stopping what someone is saying, occurs in all schools and colleges. It can mean that individuals may miss important ideas from others and learn less.
In the workplace, we need to listen to many different people for lots of different reasons. You might work in a team or with others and when multiple people want to share their ideas, every person should have the opportunity to do so. If your job involves manual tasks, you may be given instructions on how to do something safely and it is important that the speaker can deliver these in full without interruption. If your job involves interaction with the public, customers must feel listened to. If a customer is interrupted before they finish speaking, they may feel that their needs have not been met.
In some workplaces, key decisions are made during meetings. Although our interruption may be done for positive reasons, by doing this we might negatively impact the decisions being made and the opinion your team and leaders have of you.
In our social lives, we often spend time speaking with friends or family and taking part in activities with others such as sport, dance or music. These require us to be able to listen without interrupting. By interrupting others, we could upset someone we care about or make them feel like we are uninterested in what they are saying. We might also miss out on something interesting or misunderstand what is being said and do something wrong. This could result in losing a match, singing the wrong words or falling out with friends.
To best practise this step of Listening, apply what you have learnt to a real-life situation. Choose one or more of the activities below, remind yourself of the key points and strategies in the step, and have a go!
To teach this step:
If the teacher wants to use an activity to practise this skill step on then you could use a graduated level of challenge:
This is a step that needs regular practice to become a habit. The teacher can:
This step is best assessed through observation. For example:
This step is relevant to everyone who listens to others at work.
To build this step in the work environment, managers could:
There are plenty of opportunities for building this skill in the workplace:
For those already employed, this step is best assessed through observation. For instance:
The step could also be assessed by customer or colleague feedback.
During the recruitment process, this step could be assessed by:
We work with a wide range of organisations, who use the Skills Builder approach in lots of different settings – from youth clubs, to STEM organisations, to careers and employability providers.
We have a lot of materials available to support you to use the Skills Builder Universal Framework with the individuals you work with, including:
We also do a lot of work with organisations who join the Skills Builder Partnership to build the Universal Framework into their work and impact measurement systems. You can find out a lot more using the links below.
At home, you can easily support your child to build their essential skills. The good news is that there
are lots of ways that you can have a big impact, including: