Good Listener Skills: Say What Now?
Being a good listener is one of the most important skills you can master if you want to advance your career and build meaningful relationships. When you REALLY listen, you demonstrate your interest in what is being said and you show your respect for the individual saying it. Listening is a magnetic force that draws people to us.
Have you ever talked to someone and noticed he or she wasn’t really listening to you? How did it make you feel? Unimportant? Disrespected? Insulted? Remember those feelings and work diligently to ensure that people never feel the same way when they talk to you.
In this post I will highlight 10 things I have learned to be great “better listener” strategies.
1. Make Eye Contact—The first step in being a good listener is to make eye contact with people while they are talking. Good eye contact demonstrates genuine interest in the person and the conversation.
2. Be Present—The key here is to be aware that people do notice if we are not really listening. And so we must focus on the discussion and not allow our minds to wonder.
3. Give NO Sign You are Ready to Respond—When you are listening, don’t give any clues that you are ready to respond. Don’t point your finger and don’t open your mouth. When I talk to people and I see that they are waiting on pins and needles to respond, I know they are no longer listening because they are more concerned with how they are going to respond than with listening to what I have to say.
4. Wait Two Seconds to Respond—During a conversation, wait two seconds after the person finishes speaking to make sure they have finished their thought. This is especially important when talking on the phone, because you can’t see their facial expression. Often times they are just pausing to gather their thoughts and are not really finished speaking. If you find yourself talking at the same time someone else is talking, then use that opportunity to remind yourself of the “pause two seconds” rule.
5. Let Them Go First—If you start talking at the same time someone else is trying to finish their thought, STOP and say, “I’m sorry, please continue” and let them finish before responding. Even if what you have to say is important or it’s an answer to the question they raised, show them your respect by letting them finish. I certainly notice when people allow me to complete my sentences without “over talking” or interrupting. Do you?
6. Care About What’s Being Said— Even if it’s a subject that doesn’t interest you, this is his way of showing people that what they say is important and that they are valuable individuals.
7. Listen For The Message Within The Message—Another strategy is to listen for the message within the message. By listening intently, you are able to grasp the topic and move more effectively into the conversation. Most people are looking for encouragement, answers or insights to the subjects they discuss. By listening in this manner, you are able to connect more effectively.
8. Don’t Change The Subject—When you are engaged in a conversation, don’t change the subject unless the discussion is finished. If you change the subject of a discussion prematurely, you demonstrate a lack of interest in the discussion and indicate that what you have to say is more important.
9. Respond By Asking Questions—When you ask people questions during a conversation, you show a sincere interest in the topic. Most people operate at “the feeling level”, rather than “the thinking level”, even if they are good thinkers.
10. Don’t Start a Side Conversation—When part of a group conversation, never start a side conversation, even if the person talking is not making eye contact with you. Yes, they should be including you in the conversation by sharing eye contact equally with each person in the group, but don’t allow their mistake to prevent you from being a good listener.
Instinctively we all know the right thing to do. But doing it consistently is the hard part. Being a good listener requires an intentional effort and above all, a sincere interest in other people. It is a skill worthy of mastering.
I am committed to working on being a better listener. Will you commit to showing you care about people by incorporating these ten tips into your daily routine? Comment Below.