How to Be a Good Listener
Listening is an important communication skill that is often overlooked. Don't believe me? Next time you are having a conversation with someone take notice of how much you get distracted, change the subject or start talking about your own experiences. Practicing your listening skills can truly transform your life.
Benefits of being a good listener:
- Deepen your relationships: practicing active listening can help the people around you feel understood and connected. Being a better listener helps build both professional and personal relationships.
- Expand your horizons: As the Dalai Lama XIV once said: “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”
- Become a great leader: being a great listener helps build trust and loyalty.
How to be a good listener:
- Be present. Put down your phone/tv/tablet/work and focus in on the person talking.
- Use body language to cue that you are engaged and paying attention.
- Aim to understand the speaker's emotions and empathize with them.
- Don't interrupt - let the speaker finish their entire thought before responding.
- Ask questions to encourage the speaker to continue to tell their story
- Refrain from jumping in with your own stories of similar experiences.
- Don't pass judgement - acknowledge that you understand how they are feeling and don't pass judgement or dole out advice.