What if you were telling someone a personal story and suddenly realize they weren’t paying attention? That’s disheartening, right? Well, this is a frequent occurrence for many people as most people we know aren’t good listeners. They’re simply hearing, not listening. So, the question is, how to become a good listener?
True listening necessitates a more significant investment of time and effort than most individuals are willing to make. Listening to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying shows that you care and respect them. The problem is that listening involves acting against our instincts.
People sometimes feel unheard and unacknowledged when they are not actively listening. That’s why everyone needs to learn how to be a better listener. Here are some steps you can follow to be a better listener :
A great listener is focused. They aren’t looking at their watches or phones, and they aren’t planning their dinner. They’re concentrated and listening to what the other person has to say. This is what “active listening” means. In addition to genuinely hearing, the ‘active listener’ must also be ‘seen to be listening. Otherwise, the speaker may conclude that the subject they are discussing is uninteresting to the audience. It’s very natural for the mind to wander. After all, we are human. On the other hand, a competent listener will rein in such thoughts as soon as they sense their concentration dropping.
Use Positive Body Language
Body language may reveal a lot about a person. Is the person listening to you enthralled, bored, or worried? The body language of a skilled listener is comfortable. They lean forward as though they’re interested in what they’re hearing. Their facial expression is either a smile, a look of concern, or a look of empathy, for example. This simple step makes the speaker believe that the other person is listening to their story.
I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a statement and see the other person ready to interrupt you. It’s impolite and very stressful. You’d probably feel compelled to hurry what you’re saying to finish your statement. When you interrupt a speaker to agree, disagree, discuss, etc., the speaker loses track of what they are saying. It’s quite aggravating. You can provide your input when the other person finishes telling their story.
Wait your turn and be polite!
Follow up the conversation
Remembering what the speaker has said to you and then following up with them is an essential part of being a good listener. Research shows that people who ask questions, follow-up inquiries may become better managers, gain better jobs, and even win second dates. It’s so easy to convey that you care. Recall a few details and follow up on them.
Keep the confidential information confidential
Listen with care if you truly want to become a better listener. If what you’re hearing is private, keep it confidential, no matter how tempting it is to tell someone else, particularly if you have mutual friends. Being a good listener entails being trustworthy and sensitive to information that has been revealed. Keeping someone’s trust helps to strengthen your bond. Listen without passing judgment, just like a therapist.
Also Read: Difference between Hearing and Listening.