Being a good listener can help us with practically every aspect of life. It makes us better friends and partners. And it can help us with work or school. However, being a good listener is not always easy to do. Sometimes we may find ourselves spacing out or waiting for the chance to make a point, where we don’t really hear what the other person is saying. We can all become more empathetic, thoughtful and kind through active listening. It also helps us to live more fully in the present moment. Here are three of our tips for becoming a better listener.
1- Free Yourself of Distractions
It can be tempting to sneak glances at our phones or continue typing on our computers when someone is trying to talk to us. However, it’s not the most considerate thing to do. Instead, make an effort to free yourself of these distractions. Put down your phone, shut your laptop and focus on devoting all of your energy to the person you’re speaking with. Another way to feel less distracted is to make a point of maintaining eye contact with them when they speak. This will ensure that you are actively paying attention to them.
2- Hold Off On Your Own Thoughts
It can be tempting to shift our focus in a conversation from what the person is saying, to thinking about how you want to reply. If a response has popped into your head, one helpful technique is to literally “hold that thought,” by sticking out your pointer finger or giving yourself another simple queue. This way, you’ll remember you have something to say as a reply, but you can put it away from the forefront of your mind to listen to what the other person is still saying.
3- Show Interest In The Conversation
Another way to practice active listening is to show interest in the conversation through both verbal and non-verbal cues. Without even speaking or interrupting, you can nod your head or make friendly facial expressions to let the person know you’re engaged. When it is your turn to speak, take interest by asking follow up questions about what they just said or by giving your own feedback if they asked for advice. You can also show your engagement by simply restating what the other person just said and acknowledging it before saying your piece.
These easy tips can help us all become better listeners and strengthen our relationships. Remember that practice makes perfect, and that you can try out different techniques to see what works the best for you.