Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood (Listen Before You Talk)

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood (Listen Before You Talk)

  • Principles and Concepts:

    • Autobiographical responses
    • Listening with the intent to understand
    • When to listen empathically
    • Ask clarifying questions
    • Empathic communication in the digital world
    • Respect, mutual understanding, empathy, and courage



    • Common: I need to make sure people understand my point of view.
    • Highly Effective: I have greater influence with others if I truly understand them first.



    • Practice Empathic Listening



    • Respectfully seek to be understood


    When emotion is high, avoid autobiographical responses:

    1. Probing
    2. Evaluating
    3. Advising
    4. Interpreting



    Results (I can listen and communicate effectively.)

    Some results I might expect from living Habit 5 at a higher level are:

    • Greater influence with others
    • Solutions to complex problems
    • Clarity on real issues
    • Faster problem solving

    Books that reinforce Habit 5:  Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

    Lower Elementary

    • Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
    • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
    • The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
    • Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
    • Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino

    Upper Elementary

    • Marrying Malcolm Murgatroyd by Mame Farrell
    • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
    • Rules by Cynthia Lord
    • Veronica Knows Best by Nancy K. Robinson
    • The Bully of Barkham Street by Mary Stolz