How to Be a Good Listener

How to Be a Good Listener

When you’re a good listener, you will be able to see the world through others eyes. It improves your understanding and empathy. Being a good listener will also help you improve your communication skills. Having good communication skills will give you an insight on someone else’s situation at a deeper level.

Listen with an open mind

First you should put yourself in others shoes. It can be easy to get lost in yourself and not consider what the other person is saying. But sometimes active listening can be blocked by your inward thoughts. Don’t forget that you one mouth and two ears for a reason. That means you should be listening to others more than you speak. Make sure you are completely focused.

While you are listening do not judge the other person. Be open minded and listen and look at the situation in another person perspective.

Do not compare another person experience to yours.

You might think the best way to listen to the other person is to compare their problems to yours but that’s not true. If someone is for example talking about someone who died avoid saying that’s what happened to me too but instead share some wisdom with them. Avoid saying “I” or “me” a lot. This is a shows that you’re focusing more on yourself than on the person.

Do not try to help them right away

When someone is telling you something, do not listen and also be looking for a solution at the same time. When the person is done talking to you and explaining everything, then find a solution another time. You will lose focus if you’re trying to listen and think of a solution. You should limit all the distractions. Distractions like TV, phones, radio or noise can interrupt the listening.

Sympathize with them

Show the person that you care by nodding appropriately so they know you’re listening. Make comments when they’re speaking like “wow”, “yeah”. These comments will show that you are actually listening and paying attention and not just sitting there.

Remember details

Remembering what you are told. An important thing about being a good listener is absorbing everything you are told. If for instance someone tells you about a fight he has with his friend, Mike and you do not know him you can at least remember the name. This will help you refer to him later to show you’re listening to everything. You don’t have to necessarily remember every single detail but some stuff you think are important.

Follow up

When you are a good listener you will not just listen and forget everything – but you should follow up. If you want to show you care, next time you are with the person alone, ask them about it and what happened. There’s a difference between following up on what happened and nagging the person.

Know what you shouldn’t do

When you are trying to be a good listener you should know what to avoid. Below are a few of the things you should not do;

  • Don’t interrupt them.
  • Avoid saying things like “You’ll feel better later.”
  • Don’t interrogate the person.
  • Do not try to change the subject.

Reassure the person of your confidentiality. 

If you are being told something private make it clear you can be trusted. Tell them that whatever they say will stay between you two. Don’t force them to open up though, they will be so uncomfortable. Let them take their time to open up. And of course when the person opens up and you said you won’t tell anyone do not tell anyone.

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