Being a good listener takes much more efforts than being a good speaker. There are many speakers who can articulate their thoughts and use the power of their words to motivate and inspire their audience. However, when it comes to listening to the speaker, they fail miserably.
Because, listening requires a deeper level of emotional engagement with the speaker and understanding their words as well as body language. Good listeners tend to comprehend both verbal and non-verbal cues of their speaker; they are good at understanding pauses and the silences.
Fortunately, it’s easy to become a good listener although it requires gradual practice. Here are some tips you can incorporate into your daily life for improving your listening skills.
Being a Good Listener: The Steps
Be Attentive to What They’re Saying: Being a good listener means being attentive and maintaining a great eye contact and listen to the speaker carefully with complement emotional involvement.
Be Interested in What They’re Saying: Good listeners don’t look for an opportunity to point out innocuous mistakes in a speaker. Rather, they become genuinely interested in what the speaker is saying, focusing only on the intent of the speaker.
Don’t Check Fiddle with Your Gadgets: Being a good listener takes a lot of focus on the speaker and avoiding fiddling with one’s gadgets such as cell phones while listening to the speaker. Good listeners put away their gadgets and offer complete undivided attention to the speaker.
Don’t Cut in Frequently: Good listeners don’t really look for a chance or pause in the conversation to ask a question. Cutting in frequently while the speaker is taking a pause can appear insensitive and apathetic to the speaker. Interrogating the speaker every now and then can demotivate the speaker to share their feelings with you.
Use Positive Body Language: Being a good listener is to learn how to demonstrate positive body language. Good listeners lean forward and show genuine enthusiasm in the speaker. They don’t fidget, look away or show inappropriate reactions to the speaker.
Don’t Hurry Them Up: Good listeners don’t hurry the speaker up to finish what they are saying. They show respect and ask appropriate questions to guide the speaker to open up and share their feeling and express themselves completely. Asking too many questions can also interrupt the speaker to the point they will fail the express themselves properly.
Don’t Judge the Speaker: Good listeners don’t start listening with a preconceived notion about the speaker. They don’t harbour biases or prejudices about the speaker even before they have started listening to the speaker.
Being a good listener involves treating the speaker with an open mind, willing to find something interesting in the speaker every time. As a matter of fact, much value of conversation is lost when you approach the speaker with negative frame of mind.
Show Genuine Empathy: Good listeners are caring to the speaker. They demonstrate genuine empathy to the speaker and become emotionally involved with the speaker.
Avoid Sounding Patronizing: Being a good listener means avoiding patronizing with the speaker. Good listeners react honestly and avoid clichés. Statements such as, “I know exactly how you feel” can sound trite, insensitive and patronizing. Avoid drawing any conclusion about the speaker’s emotional disposition even before they are done saying anything.
Remember the Gist of the Conversation: Good listeners always remember the gist of the conversation so they can refer to the points whenever necessary. They treat the speaker with respect and follow up with the essence of the conversation.
Be Trustworthy: Good listeners are sensitive, truthful and trustworthy in that they treat the speaker with utmost respect and refrain from giving away their secrets or share the confidential information for their own benefits.
Take Away: Unlike many people tend to believe, listening is not a passive act; it’s very much an active engagement with the speaker. Being a good listener requires empathizing with the speaker and being honest with oneself. With the above steps, being good at listening could be a part of your life.