Did you ever wonder how counselors are able to solve problems that appear complex to us?
What helps them bring someone out of depression, stress, or any other mental disorder?
Do they have some super power?
Well, I don’t know about super powers. But I truly appreciate the one key skill that they possess. And that is the skill to listen.
It is because of this ability that they are able to do what they do.
In fact, forget about the counselors. Ask yourself.
What do you wanna do when upset, happy, excited, or stressed?
Don’t you feel like sharing? Don’t you want someone with whom you can share the joy or gloom?
Finding any such person is more difficult than it seems. And becoming one yourself is even more demanding. And this proves the importance of good listening skills in communication.
You’ll barely find anyone admitting that they aren’t good listeners. But, the fact is that most of the people do not even understand what good listening is.
To find out whether you are a good listener or not, watch the following video:
Most of us listen to respond. But that’s not what good listeners do. Good listeners know that listening is more than responding. It’s about giving.
Now the question is how to give?
How to become a good listener?
How to build effective listening skills?
And the answer is practice.
Undergoing various listening exercises and listening activities will hone your listening skills tremendously.
Listening might sound passive but it is not. To be a good listener, you have to be a lot more vigilant and active. And there is no denying the fact that listening skills in communication have a great role to play.
So, practice active listening and brush up your listening skills. Do some listening skills exercises to polish your listening abilities. Because similar to reading, writing, and speaking, listening, too, require specific skills.
Read on to learn these effective listening skills that’ll help you become a good listener.
Acknowledge the Speaker
A simple uh-huh or nod is enough to acknowledge the speaker. To be listened and understood is the earnest desire of every speaker. So, show interest in what the person is saying. Repeating and acknowledging their words, thoughts, and feelings make them feel heard and recognized.
Sync Your Eyeballs
While listening, you need to share the vibe with the speaker. An eye contact helps you do that effortlessly.
Irrespective of whom you are talking to and what you are talking about, your eyeballs always have a role to play.
A conversation with and without an eye contact, both have a huge difference.
To be a good listener-look into their eyes, but avoid making it a gawk. Once the contact is made, relax and carry on like a normal person.
Step Into Their Shoes and Feel Their Emotions
Remember the time when you wanted to share something with your friend but their impatience ruined your enthusiasm and interest.
There constant interruptions and statements like I don’t have much time, tell me fast-spoiled your mood and willingness to share your feelings. Didn’t they?
To be a vivid listener, you need to be patient and calm. A person is trying to uncover his/her thoughts and feelings in front of you. It can be awkward for them. So, step into their shoes, feel their feelings, be patient, and give them the time they need.
Observe And Understand The Unsaid Words And Gestures
Spoken words do not always convey the complete meaning. There are emotions, thoughts, and views that are left unsaid.
But how to listen to those unspoken thoughts?
How to understand them?
And the answer is “gestures.” Yes, read the gestures. Like what face expressions they have while they speak. Analyze their body language. Check how they stand, how they move their hands and their speaking tone.
Gestures are the hidden but accurate indicators of one’s personality and thoughts.
So, along with listening to their words, listen to what their unsaid indicators have to say.
Resist The Temptation to Question
As I already said- every listener wants to be heard. True.
But how’ll you be an active listener, if you don’t question?
What if you have doubts?
Which, of course, you’ll have.
And if you are really into the conversation, you’ll have even more doubts. But as the rule says- LET THEM SPEAK FIRST. Follow the rule. Let the person express themselves and share what they intend to say. Wait for your turn and then ask and remove your doubts.
Doing this will have two benefits.
Number 1- It will show your interest in what the speaker is saying. He/she will be more open to you.
Number2- Asking questions later will help you get definite and well-explained answers. You’ll be able to understand the situation better.
Therefore, always ask clarifying questions once the speaker is done speaking. Also, avoid asking pointless questions.
Be Authentic And Thoughtful In Your Views And Suggestions
Keeping other things aside, your genuine interest in other person makes a huge difference.
Be considerate of others thoughts and emotions. You should be aware of what impact your words can have on others. Give suggestions (if asked) only if you feel, you have something genuine to say. Also, stay confident on what you believe and help the speaker in the best way possible.
Anticipate Distractions And Remove Them
It’s not just about you and the speaker. Many other factors can block your way to be an active listener. Such as the surroundings where you are having the conversation and the distractions around you.
You and your friends are into a conversation. Suddenly, your phone rings. You took it. The conversation got disrupted. You again started the conversation, but it doesn’t go that well this time. Distractions didn’t let the conversation end the way it was supposed to end.
So, try having the conversation in an appropriate environment. Stay away from phone, T.V., radio, or any other such distractions.
Take Time Before Forming An Opinion
Another quality of a good listener is unbiasedness. Stay neutral and try to form a judicious opinion.
To have a meaningful conversation distant yourself from prejudice. Even if you already know what other person has to say, keep it to yourself. Never assume what is going to come out of the speaker’s lips. Have an open mind and let the things come in naturally.
Understand Their Expectations
Listening and speaking both have some purpose. But, it can differ from person to person and situation to situation. Try finding out the expectation or intention of the person sharing his/her views and thoughts. It’s not that they are always looking for solution, suggestion, or answer. Sometimes they are simply sharing.
So, understand their expectation and revert accordingly. Understanding their expectation from the conversation will make them feel content and satisfied afterwards.
Get Engaged In The Conversation
Last but not the least engage yourself in the conversation. It’s the crux of all of the above tips. It is your engagement that keeps the conversation going.
Image Source: Networking Times
A speaker will feel comfortable if s/he knows that you are into the conversation. Show your interest, focus, and care for the other person.
Simple and short comments like- Yes, I understand, I know how it is, will express that you are truly listening.
Remember listening is more about the speaker. The more actively you listen, the more you’ll know about the person and the situation. And for you, it makes you more affirm and clear in your thoughts, suggestions, and decisions.
2 thoughts on “10 Effective Ways To Improve Your Listening Skills”
I agree that eye contact is important when having a conversation. It shows the other person that you care what they are saying and that you are focused on them. One thing I have done when I can’t do this at that moment is tell the other person you would love to hear what they have to say, but they need to give you a couple minutes to wrap up what you are doing.
Does your child struggle to listen? Are you finding it difficult to get her to pay attention when someone speaks to her. These tips will help improve your child’s listening skills.