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AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum

Interviewing Family Members ~10 Tips

TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR GOOD LISTENING

1. STOP TALKING
You cannot listen if you are talking.
Shakespeare: "Give every person thine ear, but few thy voice"

2. PUT THE TALKER AT EASE
Help the person feel that he/she is free to talk This is often called a "permissive environment"

3. SHOW THE PERSON THAT YOU WANT TO LISTEN
Look and act interested.
Listen to understand rather than to reply.

4. REMOVE DISTRACTIONS
Do not doodle, tap, or shuffle papers.

5. EMPATHIZE
Try to put yourself in the other person's place so that you can see his/her point of view

6. BE PATIENT
Allow time.
Do not interrupt or walk away.

7. HOLD YOUR TEMPER
An angry person gets the wrong meaning from words and creates anger in the other person.

8. GO EASY ON ARGUMENT AND CRITICISM
This puts a person on the defensive; he/she may "clam up" or become angry. Never argue; even if you win, you lose.

9. ASK QUESTIONS
This encourages the person and shows you are listening.

10. STOP TALKING
This is first and last because all other commandments depend on it. You just can't do a good listening job while you are talking.

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NATURE GAVE US TWO EARS BUT ONLY ONE TONGUE, WHICH IS A GENTLE HINT THAT WE SHOULD LISTEN MORE THAN WE TALK.
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Anon


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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