Listening is a great skill, and it strengthens our connections with others. Being able to relate well to people can translate into a positivity that spreads into many parts of life. Learn how to sharpen your listening abilities and thrive during the sometimes-challenging process.
Be In The Present Moment
Have you ever noticed how many people stare down at their phone screens despite being in a group of people who are ready and willing to converse? Sometimes it even happens when a couple is out on a date.
The next time you catch yourself nearly falling into the same trap, gently pull yourself away from any technological gadgets or other distractions and relish the feeling of being engrossed in whatever’s going on around you. Over time, doing this can help you become a more observant person, which has a variety of advantages. They range from being more able to pick up non-verbal cues to feeling safer and more aware of your surroundings as you navigate unfamiliar places.
Change Your Mindset
Many of us approach conversations with the idea that the ultimate goal is to be able to contribute something that’s based on our own knowledge. Sometimes it’s great to be able to share what we know, but that’s not always the ideal for which to strive.
Being attentive and willing to learn about the perspective of another person is crucial, too. It can often expand our worldview and challenge us to think in ways we might otherwise have avoided. Having a genuine interest in what others have to say is not only educational, but also opens your mind so you’re more apt to engage in new and exciting experiences that might have previously felt scary.
Show True Empathy
When a friend is telling you about his relationship troubles for the umpteenth time, it can feel very hard to stay engaged. However, try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes instead of letting your eyes unintentionally glaze over with boredom. There’s a good chance that if you’re going through something tough, you appreciate when people care enough to stay tuned in to your dialogue, plus give helpful suggestions when applicable.
If you’re in a situation where the other person is rambling on in a seemingly endless way, attempt to remember the last time you were doing the same and someone patiently listened to your words. One of the easiest ways to cultivate a genuine sense of empathy is to think about how you’d like to be treated if the roles were switched.
Don’t Rush To Fill The Silence
Some people feel very awkward when there’s a lull in a conversation that results in complete silence. Instead of nervously trying to fill that void with words that may not have any real value, stay quiet. People often need a moment or two to collect their thoughts before speaking.
The best thing you can do during those silent moments is show respect. Otherwise, you risk giving the impression that you’re feeling rushed and don’t really have time to hear what’s on the other person’s mind.
If this happens during the middle of a very important conversation, you might alienate the other person without intending to. So much so, in fact, that anything you do in an effort to smooth things over won’t have the desired effect.
In closing, keep in mind that it takes diligent practice to become a better listener. Most of us aren’t born being great listeners, but it’s possible to hone your abilities by using the tips you’ve just read.
If you stick to your goal, don’t be surprised if you’re more profitable at work, in romantic relationships and when you’re among friends, because we all love to be around someone who’s interested in what we have to say.