16 Tricks That Will Make You a Better Listener

16 Tricks That Will Make You a Better Listener

Mastering these 16 tips will help you focus and get on the path to being an expert listener.

Dustin Hughes
Dustin Hughes
Content Specialist
16 Tricks That Will Make You a Better Listener

Whether you want to be a better employee, a better leader, or just a better human, the key is listening to those around you.

And in today's hyperconnected world, with worldwide instant communication, it's never been more important to develop the skill to listen. It's also never been more challenging, with pop-ups, notifications, newsfeeds, and emails constantly vying for our attention.

That's why it's important to focus on the basics of really and deeply listening to someone, and getting back to the basics of what it means to be a good listener. Listening well will help you connect with your colleagues and families like never before.

Mastering these 16 tips will help you focus and get on the path to being an expert listener.

1. Eliminate all distractions.

Put your phone in a drawer or turn it off. Put your computer to sleep. Try to get rid of anything that would keep you from giving the person you're speaking with your complete attention.

__2. Be prepared. __

If this is a pre-scheduled conversation, do your research first. Did the person you're speaking with detail their thoughts beforehand? If so, make sure you know what's coming.

3. Turn to face the other person.

Eye contact is essential and lets the person you're speaking with know you are giving them your full attention. Please note that people from non-western cultures may feel uncomfortable with direct eye contact.

4. Don't interrupt.

Let the other person speak their mind and wait until they pause before you respond. Talking over someone makes them feel like they're not being heard.

5. Pay attention to body language.

Make sure you're noting non-verbal cues, as well.

__6. Don't assume. __

If something is unclear, don't make assumptions. Ask the other person for clarification so you're on the same page.

__7. Be empathetic. __

Really put yourself in the other person's place. Just imagining what they're going through, from their perspective, can help establish the empathetic mindset that makes for effective communication.

8. Be like a reporter.

Listen as though you'll need to tell someone else about all this later. This will keep you focused on the conversation.

9. Be honest.

It's OK if you're tired, or in a hurry, or are unable to give your full attention. Or maybe you're just not able to deliver on what the other person is asking. Be upfront and honest about where you're at so that no one has any unrealistic expectations.

__10. Share. __

If the other person asks for advice, it can be helpful to share what you've done in a similar situation, or how you've reacted when you were in the other person's shoes.

11. Give the speaker regular feedback.

Let them know you're processing what they're saying. Saying something simple like "That's great," or "You must be frustrated" can help build connection.

12. Ask the right questions.

Instead of asking them a question that can be simply answered "yes" or "no," try asking "how" and "why" questions that allow the speaker to elaborate.

13.Pay attention to how much you're talking.

Ideally, you should aim for a two-to-one listening to talking ratio.

14. Know your listening type.

There are four types of listening: Appreciative, empathetic, comprehensive, and crucial. Know how to apply these toward your goal as a listener.

15. Change the scenery.

Crowded workplaces aren't the best for in-depth conversations. Try a change of scenery by taking a walk outside, or heading to a more private area.

16. Recap your conversation.

And finally, at the end of the conversation, summarize what you've talked about. Repeat what you've gone over, and have a plan for next steps, if any are needed.

Sources https://www.fastcompany.com/3068959/6-ways-to-become-a-better-listener

https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/listening-types.html

https://www.positivityblog.com/better-listener/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2012/11/09/10-steps-to-effective-listening/#1ddabae53891

https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/five-tips-for-listening-well

https://courses.lumenlearning.com/atd-fscj-publicspeaking/chapter/types-of-listening/