OREA Real Estate College

Listen to Understand

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

~Dr. Stephen R. Covey, American educator, author, businessman, keynote speaker

Certain skills are required to build a successful career in real estate, such as people skills (the ability to establish rapport and gain the trust and respect of prospective buyer and seller clients), problem-solving skills (the ability to address difficulties and arrive at plausible, practical solutions), and negotiating skills (the ability to negotiate on behalf of clients to arrive at mutually agreeable terms). Developing and mastering these skills requires the honing of one overriding and essential skill – the ability to listen. 

How well do you listen? Following are some statements, taken from a listening self-assessment questionnaire, that will help you identify your listening habits and determine how well (or not) you listen. For each statement, record whether you engage in the habit on the following four-point scale: most of the time, frequently, occasionally, almost never. 

Do you… 

  1. Assume you know what the speaker is going to say and stop listening? 
  2. Give the appearance of listening when you aren’t? 
  3. Form a rebuttal in your head while the speaker is talking? 
  4. Listen to the other person’s viewpoint, even if it differs from yours? 
  5. Listen for main ideas, not just facts? 
  6. Recognize that words don’t mean exactly the same thing to different people?
  7. Listen to the speaker without judging or criticizing?
  8. Restate instructions and messages to be sure you understand correctly?
  9. Allow the speaker to vent negative feelings without becoming defensive?
  10. Concentrate on the speaker’s meaning rather than how he or she looks?

Tips to improve listening skills

1.  Listen to what is being said Take the words at face value. Don’t read between the lines, yet.

2.  Listen for the meaning — Now read between the lines. Listen beyond the words themselves to the emotional meaning of what is being said. Are they consistent? If not, ask for clarification after the sender has finished speaking.

3.  Be aware of nonverbal communication — Observe the speaker’s body language, eye movements, and hand gestures. Are they consistent with what is being said, and the messages as you understand them? If not, ask for clarification.

4.  Beware of the message you’re sending — Consider your own body language, eye movements, and hand gestures. Are you sending a message to the speaker that may influence the message they are sending you?

5.  Do not interrupt the speaker —Let the speaker finish his/her thought before you start speaking. Interrupting is disrespectful and may cause the speaker not to listen to you when you speak.

The better you listen to your clients (what they say and don’t say), the better service you will be able to serve them. 


More information: Mentoring Kit for New Salespeople: Training for Successhttp://bit.ly/1CvaJrh



Burley-Allen, M. (1982). Burley-Allen, M. (1982). Listening: The forgotten skill. Boston, MA: John Wiley & Sons.

OREA Real Estate College (2016). Your career in real estate: A student handbook. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1V9bxuW.

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