I’ve always struggled with listening. I think I get so caught up in the flow of my own thoughts that I forget to listen.
There’s a way to listen that makes me feel like I’m being understood, which helps me open up and connect more.
I thought I’d share it with you.
STEP 1: Turn off the Newsfeed
I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. If you’re in the habit of turning on the newsfeed every time you check your email, you’ll never hear what’s going on in the world.
Instead, turn off the newsfeed and use your email client to read the headlines. If you want to be a good listener, you have to get out of your head and into the world.
STEP 2: Use an Ear Buds
I used to use earbuds that were wired to my phone. This worked fine when I was on the go, but it had the unfortunate side effect of keeping me from hearing people talk to me.
Instead, try using an ear bud that’s wireless and only connects to your smartphone. It’s much more comfortable and easy to hear people talking to you.
STEP 3: Be Aware of Your Body Language
In the same way that we unconsciously monitor our body language, we also need to monitor ours.
When we’re listening, we need to be aware of our gestures and movements. If we’re leaning forward with our hands in our pockets, our shoulders hunched, and our heads down, we look like we’re not listening.
STEP 4: Look People In the Eyes
The most important thing you can do when you’re listening is to look people in the eyes. It shows that you’re interested and engaged in what they’re saying.
Look them in the eyes as often as possible while they’re talking. This also helps you hear what they’re saying.
STEP 5: Listen for the Tone of Voice
As a writer, I spend a lot of time writing emails. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written an email that sounded exactly like the person who wrote it.
It’s easy to write what you think someone wants to read, instead of what they actually want to hear.
If you’re trying to be a good listener, you have to learn how to recognize the tone of voice and adjust your words to match it.
STEP 6: Don’t Assume
Finally, don’t assume that you know what someone is thinking. Even if you think you understand what they mean, you might be wrong.
A good listener is able to recognize when people are trying to tell them something, but they’re not sure if they should be telling them.
Try to get them to talk about it, and ask them open questions like, “So what are you trying to tell me?” Thanks for reading!