Being a good listener is an essential skill in today’s world. Not only does it help you to understand others better, but it also helps you to become a better communicator. In this post I share a few ways you can improve your listening skills.
Steps to Become a Good Listener
Listen with your eyes as well as your ears
If you are trying to listen with your eyes, it can be hard to see the nuances of the person you are talking to. Instead, try looking directly at the speaker and focus on the details of his/her face, posture and gestures.
Pay attention to your emotions
When you feel happy, sad or excited, your brain will send signals to your body which in turn causes your facial expression to change. Pay attention to this so you can better interpret the emotions of the person you are talking to.
Listen for the tone of voice
Voice tone can be affected by different emotions and also by external factors such as your environment. Listen for the emotion and then focus on the external factors.
Focus on what the speaker says
When you are listening, don’t let your mind wander off. As soon as you realize that your thoughts have drifted away, bring them back to the conversation. This will help you to concentrate on what the speaker is saying.
Ask open-ended questions
Open-ended questions are questions that encourage the speaker to continue talking. For example, instead of “So, where do you live?”, try asking “What’s your favorite city?”
Ask questions about the speaker
In general, it’s easier to listen to someone if you know something about him/her. For example, if you know that the speaker is a parent, you can ask about his/her child. Or if you know that the speaker is a friend, you can ask about her/his relationship with the speaker.
Ask for feedback
If you want to learn more about the speaker, you can ask him/her for feedback. For example, you can ask “What do you think about this presentation?”.
Thanks for reading!