Being a good listener can improve the relationships you have with your family, friends, and co-workers. When you try to genuinely listen, people will realize you care about them; however, because we communicate mostly electronically now it can be difficult to meet face-to-face and really listen. Don’t worry; we have helpful tips to help you become a better listener.
Choose to Be Intentionally Present
Today, about 6.4 billion people worldwide use a smartphone. On average, each of these users spends about 3 hours and 43 minutes each day on their mobile devices. It can be difficult not to look at your phone to check a message or comment on a Facebook status you just posted. If you want to be a better listener, turn off your phone or silence it. Eliminate distractions and focus on the person talking. If you can’t meet in person and are talking to someone on the phone, don’t be tempted to check your email on your monitor or you will lose focus. Remember that you can only listen intently when you’re not distracted.
Become an Other-minded Listener
When it comes to being a good listener, it’s better to be interested than interesting. To do this, be quick to listen and slow to speak and learn to ask open ended questions. Seeking first to understand instead of to be understood will create a safe environment for the other person to feel heard and valued. By becoming genuinely interested in the other person’s perspective, you help the other person trust you and share honestly what they believe and why they believe it. Who knows — you might be able to learn a thing or two from a different point of view.
Be Empathetic and Never Judge
Listening is an act of empathy as you try to see a situation through another person’s eyes and understand how they’re feeling. You can’t do this when you’re judging them as they’re talking. Remember that people will open up more when you’re not judging them. Extend respect, compassion, grace, and forgiveness to the degree that you would like it extended to you.
Show That You’re Actually Listening
To be a better listener, show the other person that you’re actually listening to them. Your body language shows how attentive you are to the other person. Make eye contact. Lean forward and learn to nod, especially when they give out suggestions, as that would encourage the other person to talk more. Avoid thinking about what you will say next in your response to them.
Don’t Talk While the Other Person is Still Talking
One rule of thumb: Wait for the other person to finish talking before commenting or asking a question. It can be rude to stop the person mid-sentence because you need to talk. Also — when you don’t understand, don’t hesitate to ask them to repeat what they have just said. If possible, you can also consider repeating what they have said to ensure that you have fully understood it.
Are You Ready to Be a Better Listener?
30-minute free coaching
Do you seek to become a better listener? Are you willing to ask questions of people with opposing views to better understand why they see things differently than you do? Would you like to see argumentative monologues replaced with honest dialogue? If so, we are offering 30 minutes of free coaching on ways to achieve those goals.