Ever feel like you are not heard even though you know the other party is listening to you talk? There is a big difference between being truly heard and being listened to. For instance, the main difference is that when someone is truly hearing you they are putting all their attention to what you are saying. And this will make you recognize what you are sharing is important to them and that they truly care. Thus, anyone who is a good listener is often viewed as caring, trustworthy and just easy to talk to. If you want to be a good listener follow the following proven listening tips.
The most important aspect of listening is showing that you care about what the person has to say. This is especially important if the other party is sharing something significant whether it’s something negative or positive. Thus, if the person is sharing some sad news, try to be sympathetic and offer to be there for them. Similarly, if they are sharing some good news, smile and celebrate them. These subtle showing of interest in conversations speaks volumes about your personality.
One of the worst things to do in a conversation is interrupting the other party. Most people often interrupt the speaker because they are not aware of this bad habit. And in order to stop bad habits like this one, you need to become aware of them! After coming to terms with this fact try to eliminate the need to interrupt. This need is often caused by wanting to share something you may forget later, needing to prove your point, being passionate about the topic, etc. Therefore once you find yourself wanting to interrupt due to these reasons, try to bring your attention back to the speaker.
One of the most important aspects of listening in all sorts of scenarios such as interviews is proper body language. Your facial expressions, eye contact, arm and leg positioning, etc. all play a part in demonstrating your attention to the speaker. Eye contact, for instance, is perhaps the most important of all as it shows your level of care and shyness. Not maintaining eye contact portrays shyness, as well as lack of interest, thus causing others to find it hard to converse with you. Similarly, aspects such as appropriate nodding and smiling, displaying confidence can also greatly improve the speaker’s view of you as a listener.
Listening and speaking always to go hand in hand, hence why if you want to be a good listener you need to be a decent speaker as well. For instance, when talking to your friend about their vacation to Paris, try and engage in the conversation by asking questions that are open-ended. Encouraging the other party to continue talking with questions that start with “How” or “what was it like”, etc. portray your attention to them and shows them you want to hear more.
Last but not least, if you are truly a good listener you need to respond to the speaker in a way that reflects on what the person said. Your words shape your life. Time and again you may find yourself in situations where the outcome depends on what you say. So rather than saying what comes to your mind, try to come up with a reply that demonstrates your attentiveness. This technique improves your bond with the speaker and makes it more likely for them to talk with you.
Becoming a good listener is not an easy task. In fact, it takes practice and requires lots of patience. In the current world, it is very easy to make everything about yourself and get distracted by almost anything. Hence why it is even more challenging to be a good listener or even find one. But once you incorporate the above techniques you will find yourself attracting more and more people towards yourself. Moreover, being a good listener can give you an edge in many aspects of your career as well. Last but not least, if you are looking for additional resources to practice English listening comprehension refer to our article and IELTS sample tests.