It seems that some people are naturals at being good listeners, just like some people are naturals at being good talkers. My husband and I seem to work very well together; he’s a talker and I’m a listener. I’ll have to give him some credit though because he actually is a very good listener as well. People are always calling on him for advice on some dilemma in their lives. If you think your listening skills could use some honing, then take a look at these 7 ways to become a better listener.
It’s extremely difficult to listen to someone yammering on about something when you really don’t care about what they are saying. When you find yourself not caring about what someone is talking about, maybe try putting yourself in their shoes. Sometimes looking at a supposed dilemma through the eyes of another makes you care a bit more about their feelings and this just might make you a better listener.
The desire to learn about what someone is discussing with others usually makes people better listeners. This is obvious when gossip results from something overheard at the grocery store. But, having an interest in learning does also help when listening is necessary for school or work purposes as well.
Trying hard to focus on what someone is saying will help you to pay a bit more attention to the details being divulged. Maintaining focus sometimes takes a lot of will power. It might be hard to keep from drifting off at times, but stick with it and focus hard on the person speaking. Watch their mouth move if necessary. I find that this helps me to understand what they are saying. Plus, I’m a bit hard of hearing in one ear and I don’t always catch certain words in a conversation, unless I’m watching the person’s mouth as he/she speaks.
Asking questions will help you to stay focused, keep from drifting off in thought, and you’ll be able to better grasp more details as well. You don’t have to have a list of questions written down, but come up with at least a couple of simple ones from time to time so that the person knows you are actually listening and not simply nodding on cue.
A lack of sleep tends to make most people become horrible listeners. I know if I’m tired I can barely think straight, let alone comprehend someone else’s thoughts they are telling me. If you are due to be a listener and you know for sure that you will end up nodding off during your conversation, then it might be a good idea to find something to keep you alert. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, chew a piece of gum, or grab some munchies to keep you occupied.
This method for being a better listener probably works best if you are listening to a lecture of some sort. If you are having a conversation with a friend, jotting down notes about your little talk might seem rather awkward.
I’m distracted by anything that moves. I kiss the cat that sits on top of my desk every time she stretches out her little paws towards me. Every time. I have to cover the window so I don’t stare outside. If I’m having a conversation with someone and there’s a window, I must sit with my back to it. Do whatever you can to get rid of distractions when you are trying to listen to what someone is saying to you. You might even have to turn off the cell phone if you are easily distracted by text messages you receive.
I hope these 7 ways to become a better listener serve you well. Some days are better than others for me, so I know it’s difficult to be a good listener 24/7, no matter how I try to do it. Do you have any no-fail methods for listening that you use?
Top Photo Credit: Marmalime
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