“Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak”- Epictetus
Being a good listener can help you to see the world through the eyes of others. It helps you improve your level of understanding and broadens your capacity for empathy. It is also going to improve your communication skills.
If you want to know how to be a good listener, follow these 9 easy steps.
Listening Is A Win-Win
Many people do not listen that well, because they think they don’t get much out of it personally. But the better you listen, the better they will listen to you, and you will also have a better and deeper understanding of them. If you focus on understanding him/her and giving them feedback based on that, then you will likely get the same thing back. This can make you a better listener.
Maintain Eye Contact With The Speaker
Looking everywhere except at the person who is speaking, can make it seem like you are not listening and without doubt, the conversation suffers. So, maintaining eye contact with the speaker is very important. You can make this a success with practice, and then you will be better at maintaining a level gaze with the person who is speaking in a span of just a few months.
Keep The Phone Away
Browsing through your phone or laptop while listening, usually leads to missing some parts of the conversation, and to the person who is speaking, it might feel as though you are not listening to him/her.
So put your phone down while listening, if you don’t need to check something or write something down as a part of the conversation.
Summarize What Was Said
When you take a few seconds to summarize what that person has just said- like for instance, a long segment of what happened at work, or in a relationship makes, it a lot easier to make sure that you’ve understood what has happened.
Summarizing can help you to adjust or correct your understanding, so that you can add your perspective, thoughts or questions in a better way, rather than having your own assumptions about what might have happened and how the person might have experienced that situation.
Ask Instead Of Assuming
Reading a person’s mind is really difficult, even if you are a psychologist. In spite of that, there are people who start conversations based on assuming what people may be thinking. So, when you feel an impulse to assume and mind read, stop there itself, and start being curious and ask questions, so that you do not create false assumptions.
Ask questions on a yes/or no basis, this will help him/her open up and start explaining and sharing what is going on. This will also prove that you are a good listener.
Get Some Fresh Air/Exercise
Few things that make it so hard to follow along in a conversation are tired and foggy mind. Two things that can keep your energy and your mind crystal clear are to take a break or take a walk outside to get some fresh air.
Exercising regularly can help you in focusing better when you want to and when you need to listen. This is another way to make you a good listener.
Don’t interrupt when someone is speaking, is one of the main quality of a good listener. Just be present in the moment and listen fully to what the other person has to say, and let him/her speak until the entire message is said.
Sometimes, that’s all that is needed is someone who can truly listen and understand what the other person is telling.
Be Honest About Your Current Limitations
If you are very tired or stressed out, then let the other person know about it. If you have listened for a long time while your mind has wandered, you need a break.
It’s better that the two of you are honest with each other. This is important as you need to continue the conversation later and rather than trying to fake it, you can tell the person that you will listen after some time, instead of just leaving the conversation midway.
When asked for advice while listening, you can always share what you had done in the same or similar situation, and what has worked well for you.
That’s going to give a lot more weight than just random advice or opinions about what you think could work.
The above steps can make you a good listener. By incorporating these steps in your life, you will be able to see a visible change in the way you listen to a conversation and the way you perceive a number of topics. These are quite simple and extremely easy to follow and do not require much effort and can be done by anyone, so it is always worth giving a try!
Also read: 8 ways to love the life you live