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Lousy Listeners: How to Avoid Being One

About This Course

When you’re a better listener, you’re a better journalist and a better leader in the newsroom. In this course, you’re learn how to break bad listening habits and what can make a good listener even better. You can even take a self-assessment to determine how good a listener you are. And you can review some listening basics to help you strengthen your skills.

People appreciate a boss who makes them feel their ideas are worth listening to. Listening is a key component of trust-building. When a new leader takes over an organization, one of the wisest things he or she does is to listen to the team. We can’t empathize with people if we don’t hear their stories. And their stories aren’t just words – when we really listen, we hear the feelings behind the words.

This course will show you how to be a better listener.

We'll start with a self-assessment so you can see the skills — or lack of skills — you are coming in with.

What Will I Learn?

Upon completing this course, you will be:

  • A better journalist, enabling you to take in nuance and detail.
  • A better interviewer, as you build on the thoughts and feelings you are hearing.
  • A better problem-solver, as you perceive emotions in the conversation.
  • A better manager or leader.

Who Should Take This Course?

Leaders, managers, reporters, editors.

Course Instructor

Jill Geisler

Jill Geisler

Jill Geisler heads the leadership and management programs at The Poynter Institute. She teaches managers – from aspiring to veteran – how to help people do their best work. She brings humor and humanity plus a research-based, realistic approach to teaching leadership skills and values. She is the author of Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know, based on her What Great Bosses Know podcasts on iTunes U, which have been downloaded millions of times by people across the world who want to build their skills as managers. Geisler also is the instructor of several courses at Poynter's NewsU, including Dealing with Difficult Conversations and Lousy Listeners: How to Avoid Being One. You can follow her on Twitter at @jillgeisler.

Geisler joined Poynter in 1998 after a 25-year career in broadcast journalism. She was the country’s first female news director of a major market network affiliate and built an award-winning newsroom culture at WITI in Milwaukee, her home town. Hers was a teaching newsroom, where coaching and collaboration were as important as ethics and enterprise.

She is the author of numerous articles on journalism leadership issues and writes What Great Bosses Know columns for She has led programs for the Knight and Nieman Fellows, minority journalism organizations, the Radio-TV Digital News Association, Public Radio News Directors and the International Women’s Media Foundation. She teaches and consults in news organizations, including The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Oregonian, along with an array of television stations and station groups in the U.S. and abroad.

Geisler was the University of Wisconsin Journalism School’s 1972 “Outstanding Journalism Graduate,” and recipient of its 2004 Distinguished Service in Journalism award. She earned a master's degree in Leadership and Liberal Studies from Duquesne University in 2004.


The Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote community engagement and lead to transformational change.

This $30 course is free thanks to the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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  1. Course Number

  2. Classes Start

  3. Estimated Effort

    1 to 2 hours