This post will show you the best ways to listen to people without getting annoyed, bored, or distracted. I’ll also show you how to avoid getting stuck in your head when listening to others.
STEP 1: Focus on the person, not the content
The first thing you need to do is understand that people are different. Not everyone talks in the same way, and not everyone likes the same things. For some, the most interesting conversation is about the latest tech news. For others, it’s about the latest sports results.
But if you focus on the content, you might get confused by all the different perspectives. If you focus on the person, you’ll find that most people are pretty similar in their communication preferences.
STEP 2: Slow down
People often say that listening is an art, and they’re right. When you’re talking to someone, it’s easy to get lost in your own thoughts. So the first thing you should do is slow down. This might mean pausing to breathe. It might mean taking a short break. It might even mean asking a question that allows them to talk more naturally.
STEP 3: Don’t interrupt
When you’re listening to someone, it’s important not to interrupt. This is one of the worst things you can do. Interrupting makes the other person feel uncomfortable, and it makes you look stupid.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t offer feedback. In fact, you should offer feedback if you think it’s necessary. But you should only interrupt if the other person asks you to.
STEP 4: Take notes
Once you’ve slowed down and focused on the person, take notes. Don’t take notes about the content. Instead, take notes about the other person’s communication style.
STEP 5: Repeat back what you heard
After you’ve taken notes, it’s important to repeat back what you heard. This allows the other person to see if you understood them correctly.
Repeat back what you hear using their words. For example, if you were trying to understand a joke, you might say something like “I didn’t understand that last bit. Can you tell me again?”
STEP 6: Ask clarifying questions
Don’t worry about being too obvious. People love talking about themselves, so ask questions that allow them to talk about themselves.
Ask questions that allow them to talk about their career. Ask questions that allow them to talk about their relationships. Ask questions that allow them to talk about their family.
STEP 7: Follow-up
Once you’ve finished listening, it’s important to follow up. You can use email to do this, but a phone call is better.
Thanks for reading!