Effective communication requires that we make listening a priority. Confusion is avoided when people really listen to one another. Listening well sends a message to others that you care. Good listeners easily make friends and build successful relationships because they put others at ease. The ability to clearly hear what others expect of you and how to please them will result in greater success at school and work.
Listening is a skill that can be learned. Like any other skill, the more you practice, the better you’ll become.
You can practice these 5 techniques to become a better listener:
Step 1 – Fully Listen
Put down your phone. Ignore background noise and other conversations nearby. Commit to understanding the speaker’s feelings and point of view.
Step 2 – Focus your attention
Prevent your mind from wandering. Resist the urge to create a response or pass judgement while the other person is still speaking.
Step 3 – Use body language to demonstrate interest
Make eye contact with the speaker. Smile. Nod occasionally to indicate approval and understanding. Resist the urge to fidget. Maintain good posture.
Step 4 – Avoid interruptions
Respond only when the speaker has stopped talking. Do not finish the speaker’s sentences. If you catch yourself interrupting, stop your sentence, apologize, and ask the speaker to continue.
Step 5 – Provide feedback
Use your own words to restate what the speaker has said. Ask open ended questions. Share your own point of view. Respond with honesty and respect.