055 How to give feedback and comment during a meeting or presentation

055 How to give feedback and comment during a meeting or presentation

How to be a better listener and generate useful comments/feedback and questions


Hi there and welcome back to the Art of Business English. This week I am flying solo and I have put together a quick episode on how to be a better listener and generate useful comments, feedback and questions during meetings or presentations.


As some of you may know, currently the AOBE small group coaching programme is underway and we have been covering many topics and this is one that has popped up. I developed this material for one of the participants, Esteban and I thought that I would share it with the rest of you as it is very helpful.


So, today we are going to look at how to be a better listener. Firstly, I will be sharing my advice with you and then I am going to explain how you can implement the advice and finally we will be looking at all of the language and expressions that you can use.


So, let’s not waste any time and get things started.


Advice: The key to being a good listener is focusing on the speaker. This means no distractions, such as mobile phones and computers. We need to remove the “noise” so we can focus on what a person is saying. To be a good listener follow these tips:


  1. Avoid distractions and “noise”, give someone your undivided attention.
  2. Listen to what they are saying, don’t think about what you want to say next.
  3. Be an active listener, use sounds like, aha, yeah, mmm, to show that you are following the speaker.
  4. Use body language signals. For example, nod your head in agreement, make eye contact or use facial expressions to show surprise or disbelief.
  5. Listen for keywords and use them to generate questions. Asking questions is a great way to show you are interested in someone and what they are saying.


How to: Now let’s look at how we can put these tips into practice.


  1. Put your mobile phone onto flight mode or do not disturb mode. Shut down your Outlook or email client. Make sure Skype or any other messaging service is not on.
  2. Many people subconsciously want to help or offer their opinion. Try and listen and switch off the voice in your head. Try and ask 3 questions before giving an opinion. Be a detective and only offer your advice or opinion after you have all of the information. Use language like, you could try or you could consider, instead of you should/need to.
  3. Start to learn and feel confident making sounds that show you are listening. This is even more important on the phone when you can’t see the other persons face.
  4. Looking someone in the eyes expresses confidence and empathy. Start to be aware of your body language. Practice in the mirror to see what your expressions and body language are transmitting to others.
  5. Learn the art of generating questions. We can only be effective at generating questions when we listen to the speaker. Use the keywords or main theme of the discussion to generate questions.

We help business professionals improve their business prospects through highly effective English language training courses.

Andrew Ambrosius is the Director of Castells Immerscom and The Art of Business English. A specialist in Business English training and online course development.

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