In this article we want to focus on the things you shouldn’t do while listening to someone. When you learn not to do these steps your listening skills will improve.
- Don’t take over the conversation. This is really important, and as much as you want to offer advice, don’t! Let the person finish talking first. It shows respect; plus when you aren’t actively involved in the conversation, you will listen more closely.
- Don’t try to change the subject. If you attempt to do this, it shows that you either weren’t listening or that you are not interested in what this person is saying.
- Don’t use closed questions. These are the types of questions that don’t need a response and they can easily put an end to your conversation. You want to get into the habit of asking questions that require an answer. Ask them to give you an example of the situation, or ask for clarification on a certain point.
- Don’t interrupt. While you may have good intentions and want to answer, don’t. When you do this you are cutting people off and not hearing the entire story. When you interrupt, it seems as though you are in a rush and just want to get the issue resolved. It can seem as though you don’t care, and that is not something you want to show.
- Don’t assume. When you do this shows that you are not really listening.
- Avoid your personal viewpoints. No matter what your viewpoint is on the topic at hand, everyone is allowed to have their own thoughts and opinions. In fact, the world would be a boring place if everyone agreed on every subject. It may be hard to not let your own viewpoint sway you, but give the person the benefit of the doubt and listen to them.
Instead, you want to concentrate on becoming a good listener. You can do this by maintaining some form of eye contact and use your body language to show that you are interested.
Another great idea is to simply place yourself in the shoes of the speaker. Imagine how you would want someone to respond if you were doing the talking, and then try to act accordingly. Of course, you don’t want to be false to yourself and agree just for the sake of keeping someone happy. But you can indicate that you understand where they are coming from and then explain your point of view.
By taking these things into consideration, you can avoid destroying a relationship and instead create a long lasting and rewarding one.