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How to be a Better Listener When It’s Hard to do

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson # 32
Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak.

How well do I listen instead of letting things come right out of my mouth? A long time ago this was extremely hard for me to do. I usually never heard what was being said and was always the one talking. I am more aware of my lack of communicating back then and have worked hard to try and fix this little indiscretion. However, this is not an easy task and takes some dangerous practice and in my case patience along the way. These five things helped me become a better listener and improved the way I communicate effectively with others.

1. I listen so that I can learn.
If we are always talking are we anything? To be able to learn efficiently you need to be able to listen to what is said. I started to recognize this and began practicing this in conversations, and I could not believe all the exciting things I learned about other people around me. I am sure that I would not have known if I was the only one getting a word in that conversation.

2. Ask questions
I never used to ask questions. I always thought that asking questions was a weakness and many times I either pretended to know what was talked about or would take over the conversation. Pretending to know what is going on absolutely does not work, and more than likely you will end up looking ridiculous. Asking questions shows a person that you are interested in what is said and not only that you will learn something that you did not know before and that is ok.

3. Make eye contact
If you want to show someone your undivided attention make eye contact with them. Eye contact was also a hard one for me to do because I was shyer and for some reason, eye contact was hard for me. Doing this makes the conversation more enjoyable and exciting. You are taking the time to acknowledge what is said and making eye contact shows that you are genuinely interested in the discussion.

4. Don’t Interrupt the other person talking.
Interrupting conversations was something that I always did, and I honestly did not understand how annoying it was until I started focusing on changing the way I listen. Not only is this rude but it shows that you are not valuing the other person in the conversation. Being able to stop interruptions in conversations is genuinely a hard habit to break and if you do accidentally innterupt make sure to apologize.

Why is it a good idea to be a good listener?

1. Listening can be a confidence booster.
People love a good listener merely because they are hard to find and being able to do this will make you certainly feel right about having this talent.

2. Acceptance
When you listen, you are accepting the person that is involving you in the conversation. Not only are you receiving them they are also accepting you by telling you what they think is essential.

3. Connection
As humans, we need relationships and listening can create a deep connection.

So the next time you are finding yourself in a conversation take a back seat and listen to what is said. Take time to listen, and you will undoubtedly learn something new about that person. When you get a chance to ask a few questions about what is being discussed make sure to keep good eye contact so that the speaker knows that you are engaged. Last but not least remember not to interrupt the one that is speaking so that you can have the opportunity to listen to all that is being said. Listening is a talent that few have and that many want to have around them.

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