Uncovering the No1 Skill in Effective Communication…

I’ve been thinking about what I can share with you today that may be of use for you alongside some lovely feedback from a coaching client I work with. I chose to focus on “what is our NO 1 SKILL” when it comes to effectively communicating with others…

My work requires me to obtain a high level in this skill, as I encourage people to trust and to be open with me on a daily basis. You could say it’s the TOOL OF MY TRADE.

I encourage people to share information about themselves in many different life situations so that I can provide relevant the support. It is for that reason that I am always very mindful of checking in on myself to take stock of how I am doing with this, and how I can improve.

We never get to be as good as we can get with our interpersonal skills, and my philosophy as a lifelong learner is, there is ALWAYS room for improvement.

QUESTION?  When did you last check in and ask yourself how you are doing with Empathic Listening?

Listening is the Number 1 skill when it comes to effectively communicating. It is a challenge and takes an awareness of the skill, discipline in applying it, and in the first place a willingness to want to be an effective listener. So, how good of a listener are you?

We can kid ourselves that we are truly listening when someone is talking to us.  There are many distractions and barriers that prevent us from empathically listening to the other person, preventing us from really hearing what it is that is being said.  One of the biggest barriers is often the lack of time we have, and we won’t always get our ‘listening’ right for many reasons.

Use the ‘ How to Guidelines’ below to check-in on how you feel you are doing when it comes to listening to others. and consider any change you may wish to make.

Empathic Listening IS:


  • Using these in proportion – we have two ears and only one mouth, how often do we use these disproportionally?

Manage Silence

  • Giving people some time to think, resisting the urge to cut in. Not jumping in to fill the empty space.


  • Summarising by repeating back in your own words checking that what you have heard, is what is being said.


  • Feelings and building rapport through matching and mirroring body language. Listening to the language the person uses. Using effective questioning skills to draw out information.


  • Giving the gift of time to someone, really listening to the tone of their voice and listening out for what is not being said and should be said, as well as what they are saying.

Hold Off

  • Making judgements and drawing conclusions too early that may close our talker down inappropriately in the conversation.


  • Being neutral in discussions and not influencing the direction of the discussion when it is not appropriate to do so.


  • Clearly confirming and gaining at the end of the discussion a conclusion that is a mutually understood.

There are of course several verbal and non-verbal skills that are required in listening with empathy, a whole range of interpersonal skills.  If you want to find out more, you know where I am, but in the meantime, hear from one of my coaching clients, Jamie:

Jamie Dunwoodie, Isoler

ISOLER employed me as a manager for their new joinery division two years ago. I came off the tools as a joiner and this was my first real management role where I didn’t have only my own work and quality to think about.  Gill helps me to develop my management skills and is a sounding board where she also helps me to be more positive and confident in believing what I can do, and to focus less on what I think I can’t do when it comes to my management role.

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