One of the best skills I have ever learned – and it is a shame I only learned it as an adult – is how to be a good member of an audience, whether that be an audience of 1 or 100. Learning how to listen well is equally as important as learning how to speak well.
If you aspire create good conversationalists, teach students to be attentive listeners. To be interesting, students have to be interested.
Dale Carnegie says, “Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems. A person’s toothache means more to that person than a famine in China which kills a million people. […] Think of that the next time you start a conversation.”
This technique, SLANT offers a simple way to start your students off on the right path to becoming good listeners.