How to be a good listener

Listening is a very important part of connecting with people and learning from others, they can be your family, your friends or your subordinates or your boss. Learning to listen to people is a very important skill as we are not only giving attention to them but also obtaining vital information which might be useful to us in the future. Listening always requires active and silent participation to create mutual interaction and understanding amongst people. When we attend to someone and show signs of listening ie, paying attention, it shows that we care for the listener and that we respect their words or their ideas.

Let’s talk about what makes us a poor listener. There are several indications which make us a poor listener and we tend not to understand them or ignore them. Some of which are as follows:

1)When we want to talk to ourselves- We should surely talk to ourselves and it makes us feel more confident. But there are situations where talking to ourselves jist doesn’t fit at that particular point of time. Example, when we are looking at someone who’s talking, we should not pretend that we are listening to them. No matter how we may feel the conversation is, but an active listener will ensure that we listen to it. Never be absent-minded.

2)Disagreement with the speaker- Often, we tend to hear or listen to conversations which we disagree with, before listening to the entire conversation, this is called premature evaluation. This often leads to heated arguments. Listening to what the speaker is trying to say and understanding the entire thread of conversation will surely ensure that every piece of vital information is received and only then, the listener will understand whether to counter part with the conversation or agree to it.

3)Keeping ourselves pre-occupied while listening- Listening often requires cent percent attention no matter how small or big a conversation may be. If our mind is pre-occupied with thoughts about the past or the future, we often will not be in the present and will miss out on important information which is useful for any activity. Certain examples here can a very long lecture being given by the teacher, where students after a point of time will not listen, as their minds will be pre-occupied with the conversations they are having with their classmates.

4)When we appoint ourselves to be the judge- We often tend to listen to people who only speak of our interests and we often try to say to ourselves that the speaker does not know anything and that we are the expert in that particular topic of conversation in which we do not show interest and when we think it is a waste of time listening to the person.

5)Showing dis-interested body language- Body language or kinesics is an important part of any conversation and a poor body language gives indications that we are not listening to the conversations. Fidgeting often shows that one is not comfortable with the conversation and that they will show dis-interest and will often try to change the topic of discussion.

6)Avoiding eye contact- A bad listener will often avoid eye contact while listening to the speaker. When we try to avoid eye contact, we miss out on a number of non verbal communication essentials like the body language, facial expressions, etc. This is mainly due to our wandering minds.

Then how to be an effective good listener. Certain tips which one can follow are:

  1. Be interested- One should be interested in the topic of discussion and be an active listener to the words being spoken. Do not be judgemental, close minded and disrespectful to the speaker
  2. Acknowledge and empathize- A good listener should acknowledge the conversation he/she is listening to and avoid being aggressive in the conversation. Understand the speaker’s situation and react accordingly.
  3. Paraphrasing- A huge amount of information gathering is very difficult to be listened to. One can jot down important points while listening to the speaker. This will ensure every vital information is received and nothing is missed.
  4. Asking to elaborate- By ensuring to make eye-contact and by asking doubts in a conversation to understand what has been spoken, one can be an effective listener.
  5. Providing feedback- Providing feedback to ourselves on what has been listened to will ensure that the information stays intact in our mind and asking questions will solve all the doubts.

17 Subtle Signs You’re Not a Good Listener

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