Being a good listener is a skill that is necessary in all areas of your life. In your family life, at work, and while out at social events, it is important to really hear what someone is saying to you and then making an appropriate response. Here are some great tips for helping you become a good listener.
- Show that you are paying attention to someone, don’t fidget.
- Concentrate on what the person is saying. Don’t start thinking about what your kids are doing, or what stops you have to make on your way home.
- Do not multitask!
- Ask questions. This shows that you are listening and that you have genuine concern.
- Summarize the person’s concern back to them. This helps show that first you did listen, and second that you have understood them correctly.
- Pay attention to the person’s body language, as this can display their true emotions to you.
- Let the person finish speaking before saying anything.
- When replying, take a pause and then speak. This shows that you are thinking about what you are going to say to them.
- Practice your listening skills. Listen to a tape and then summarize or repeat what you have just heard.
- Always be sympathetic when replying to someone. Their concerns are very real and important to them, even if you think the issue isn’t as huge as they do.
When you really concentrate on the person speaking you will find that you pick up more details. You may hear tremors in their voice or notice that their hands are trembling or shaking. You will hear their anger and frustrations. All of these signals often speak much louder than actual words. So pay attention and you will notice these things.
Quite often when someone is looking for someone to listen, they are just looking for an open ear. You don’t necessarily have to agree with their point of view, but it helps to show that you understand their fears and concerns.
Don’t forget that you have two ears and only one mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you speak! These words of wisdom have been around a very long time, for a good reason.
So the next time someone is looking for an ear, offer yours. Really listen to what the person is saying and reply by summarizing what they have said back to them. By doing this you are well on your way to becoming a great listener.