How to Become a Better Listener: Your professional field or career path can benefit from improving your listening skills, regardless of your area. Listening effectively can help you complete your tasks more effectively and gain a competitive advantage in the workplace, from communicating with business partners to understanding market trends.
Listening effectively goes beyond passively taking in what someone else says. Your social and professional relationships can be improved by improving your ability to listen.
CRITICAL REASONS FOR LISTENING
By approaching a conversation with only your agenda in mind, you try to manipulate and maneuver the conversation in your favor.
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What makes a good listener?
Listening is more than just hearing what’s being said. Skilled listeners give their full attention to the person they are listening to, carefully process what they hear, and respond empathically. Additionally, they tend to listen with an open mind. Your listening skills enable you to contribute more fully to conversations and provide better feedback as you develop them.
What Makes Someone a Bad Listener?
Conscious listening requires practice and effort. Whether you realize it or not, certain habits (or behaviors you may have thought were helpful) can impair your ability to access information and engage with others.
The following social habits indicate poor listening skills:
- When you’re having a conversation, you can easily get distracted (often under the guise of multitasking). It distracts you from listening to what the other person is saying. People are less likely to actively listen to a speaker if there are more distractions around them – such as cell phones or televisions – to distract them.
- Invoking an anecdote from your own experience may help you relate or sympathize with the speaker. However, this habit can imply that you must fully respect what the speaker has to say and are simply trying to draw attention to yourself.
- Some people tune out or get defensive when someone shares an opinion. A potentially meaningful conversation may be prevented if the listener shuts down and refuses to relate.
- Listening skills are impaired when one does not ask questions after the speaker has finished their narrative. You can show interest and curiosity by asking questions, as well as make the other person feel heard by asking them.
- It is rare for good listeners to interrupt the speaker with their own opinion. Doing so can convey the message that you are more important than others. There is no need to respond with a rebuttal or story when a momentary pause occurs.
- If you respond while listening to the speaker, you will be focused. Relationships can be compromised by a tendency to tell your own story more than listen to others. Conversation with another person may be less likely if they do not feel heard.
How to Be a Better Listener
In interpersonal and personal interactions, good listening skills require awareness and practice. Listening skills can be improved by following these steps:
- Become an active listener. It would help if you gave your full attention to the speaker while actively listening to them. A participant who is actively listening can express interest and participate meaningfully in the conversation by focusing on their communication partner mentally and physically. Among the skills involved in active listening are eye contact, an open posture, and stillness. Instead of just waiting for someone to speak, let them say what they want and add to the conversation organically.
- Make sure you are supportive. When listening effectively, the listener lets the other person speak without chiming in with their thoughts, opinions, or unasked-for information. It would help if you did not disregard or diminish the feelings of someone who opens up to you. Sometimes, you may not even realize that you are doing so, thinking they only want to hear a quick “everything will be fine” assurance from you.
- Be open-minded. By listening openly, you demonstrate trust and show that you can hear what another person has to say without sharing your own opinion or advice. Keep an open mind, and don’t rush to another subject if you feel uncomfortable with the topic. Understanding and patience are necessary for empathy.
- Make mental notes of critical details. It would help if you repeated a few words from the speaker to indicate that you’re taking in what they’ve said. Ask follow-up questions based on what stood out in the conversation. Ask clarifying questions if any details seem unclear. Keeping your attention on the person talking will help you avoid being caught pretending to listen. Whenever you want to make a comment or ask an open-ended question, wait until they have finished speaking.
- Get to know the subject. You can demonstrate your interest in the other person’s words by asking questions. If you ask clarifying questions, you will be able to understand better what the speaker is saying, while if you ask probing questions, you will be able to get more information from them. It is important not to question the speaker. Feeling comfortable and supported should be your goal when asking questions.
- Exercise active listening. You can hone your skills while practicing active listening by doing exercises. Following each conversation you have, write a summary of what was discussed. This is an example of active listening. This is an excellent way to keep your mind engaged and active during interactions with others.
- Make sure your body language is positive. Pay attention to your body language and emotions when someone speaks to you. Changing your seat or turning your back towards the speaker may indicate passive listening (or not paying attention). Use positive gestures, such as nodding and leaning in, to show that you focus entirely on the speaker. It’s also important to be aware that your facial expressions and other nonverbal cues may indicate judgment even if you don’t say anything.
Q1. How can I train myself to listen better?
Ans: Here are nine helpful tips from a “cheat sheet”:
- Make sure you repeat back to people what they said last.
- Do not “put it in your own words” unless you are required to do so.
- Communicate your interest in others through nonverbal cues – but only if it comes naturally to you.
- Nonverbal cues should be taken into account.
- Refrain from assuming you need to ask all the questions.
Q2. How do I stop being a poor listener?
Ans: The best way to overcome listening barriers
- Distract yourself as little as possible.
- It is more important to listen than to speak.
- Noise from outside should be reduced.
- Rather than deflecting, practice reflecting.
- Get to know each other.
- Only advise once you’ve listened fully.
Q3. What makes a good listener?
Ans: Listening attentively and eagerly to what others are saying. There is a power that follows good listeners wherever they go. The warmth and trust it creates surround them. It is usually a pleasure to talk with them, and you feel refreshed and understood at the end of the conversation.
Your relationship with anyone will be strengthened if you listen attentively. It is now crucial to be able to listen in the age of smartphones and social media when people are so disconnected from each other. The speaker will feel more important when you listen to them and ask questions that make them feel like what they say matters to you.