How to be a good listener

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You might be hearing but are you really listening?

Do you find that sometimes, even when you’ve had conversations all day you can’t remember a word of what you’ve discussed?  Or do you have to ask people to repeat what they’ve said all the time?

It’s not unusual, most people don’t realise that listening is a skill that needs to be developed. 
Check against this list to see if you are using all of your listening skills.

Don’t interrupt
Even though you might want to tell an important fact that relates to the speakers story, don’t interrupt when someone is speaking.  Wait.  Let them finish their point.  Unless the person speaking asks for your advice about the topic, don’t offer it. 

Feel for the speaker
Put yourself in the speaker’s shoes.  Try to feel the emotions that they are feeling, this will show in your facial gestures and body language, and encourage the speaker to open up. 

Keep the focus
Don’t allow distractions.  You want to give the speaker all of your attention, so block out any TV or radio sounds and if you see someone else you know, don’t break off the conversation to say hello.

Ask empowering questions
As you listen, if you are focusing on what you are hearing you will begin to ask empowering questions about the topic.  Repeat what the speaker has just told you and encourage with positive feedback and questioning.  This will develop the conversation and in turn, you will benefit as the listener. 

Stay present

Don’t let your mind wander off as you are listening.  Try not to think about similar situations or topics, stay with the speaker in the present.  If you are thinking about a past or future event, it will become apparent and once again, you won’t be listening.

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