How do you feel, when someone listens to you as if no one else in the world mattered at that moment, but you? It is a beautiful feeling isn’t it? It makes one feel so safe and understood.
Effective listening skills are very important when we are trying to receive and interpret information provided by the other person accurately. Listening is an essential skill – In professional roles, listening skills lead to higher productivity and a better work-life relationship. While in personal life, listening skills help you maintain meaningful relationships, improves self-esteem and enhances well-being. Here are 6 tips to becoming an effective listener.
Pay full attention to the speaker by maintaining eye contact and nodding along. Try focusing on their eyes as they speak and give them a reassuring look. This will help them open up to you. Also, if you feel they are not maintaining their eye contact, alternate your gaze from their eyes to their face. Remember, we want them to feel safe and not threatened by our gaze. This will make them realize that you want to listen to them.
Keep your phone away:
Most of us have a habit of scrolling through our phones while listening to someone. When you really want to listen to someone, you have to show them by your actions. The first and the foremost thing is to free your mind of any distractions. It’s also important that you make yourself fully available. This ensures active and effective listening on our part and makes the speaker feel understood and heard.
Pick up non-verbal cues:
While active listening , also pay attention to small details like the speaker’s facial expression, body language, tone, etc. and you’ll get to know them better. Here are some tips that you can keep in mind while listening to someone:
- If they fidget, they are nervous
- When they do not look at you at all, they are probably hesitant to open up or are embarrassed
- A high-pitch in voice shows that they are really disturbed and bothered
- Continuous change in the voice tone or a breaking of voice also means that they are having an internal breakdown
A great way to let the speaker know that you listened to them is by summarizing what they have spoken. As an effective listener, it gives a better perspective.
When you actually speak out loud what the person said, it will help you to perceive the situation from their perspective and help you practice empathy towards them. Another advantage of summarizing is that in case you might have misunderstood, the speaker can clear that.
Be honest with your limitations:
If you are not in a state of mind to listen, simply apologize to the person and be honest that you will talk to them later. If you continue to listen to them just because you don’t want to appear rude, you will be doing injustice to them. It will be also exhausting for you as well since you will be forcing yourself to listen. Thus, the best option is to let them know that you’ll get back to them.
Ask relevant questions:
When the person is done speaking, ask questions relevant to what they said. This will make them realize that you paid attention. However, bombarding them with questions is also not advisable. Along with that, ask questions that are relevant to their condition and the speaker shouldn’t feel that you are invading their privacy. If you ask questions, ask them open-ended questions. This will make them reflect too and also give you more insights regarding their situation. You can ask questions like:
- How do you feel about this?
- What are your thoughts regarding this, did you share them with others?
- What do you think can be done?
Try to keep these in mind the next time you have a conversation with someone. It’s not necessary to inculcate or try all these together in one conversation, so make yourself familiar with one or two and you will be able to see the results yourself as an effective listener.
Let us know in the comments below your Go-to tips! Happy listening !
Skills You Need. (2018). Listening Skills. Retrieved from https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/listening-skills.html
wikiHow. (2020, July 31). How to Be a Good Listener. Retrieved from https://www.wikihow.com/Be-a-Good-Listener
Torres, A. (2018, May 8). 8 Ways To Be A Good Listener – Thrive Global. Retrieved from https://medium.com/thrive-global/8-ways-to-be-a-good-listener-and-why-you-want-to-1fb4d30087bd