50 Ways To Listen Better
Listening is a powerful skill. Everyone wants to be a good listener but only few of us actually work on becoming a better listener. As a Public Speaking trainer for more than 2 decades, I've observed that the best speaker are always good listeners as well. I've come across many good listeners during my soft skills' classes, corporate seminars and counseling sessions. I've put together this mammoth list to give you almost everything you need to be an awesome listener. Here are 50 "tried and tested" ways to listen better...
1) Do not talk while the other person is talking. For that matter, do nothing else but LISTEN. Remember, silence is golden.
2) Remove any potential distractions while you're listening. You just cannot listen while you're distracted. This is impossible to do.
3) Keep your phone on silent while in a conversation with someone. In today's world, the biggest distraction is our little phone.
4) You must try to listen so well to the speaker that you are able to repeat the entire conversation (the speaker's side of it) to another person at a later time.
5) Lean forward to show that you are paying attention. This also gives the speaker some encouragement to keep speaking.
6) Be mindful while you listen. Avoid doing anything silly such as playing with something, fidgeting, looking about, looking at your smartphone screen, or whistling.
7) Actions always speak louder than words. Listen to the non-verbal messages that you receive. Be attentive to their body language with your eyes while you keep your ears focused on what they are saying.
8) Get your 9 hours of sleep every single night. You will always be a better listener when you're mind and body gets the rest that it needs.
9) Be alert to your own prejudices and filters. Don't drift into your own thoughts about what the person is speaking about.
10) Visualize what is being said. It helps a bit. But don't do it for every single thing that they say.
11) Avoid making any judgments and jumping to conclusions about what is being said.
12) Take breaks between listening periods. Don't listen to someone speak for hours at a time. It's impossible to do. Take regular breaks if you can.
13) Delete the habit of thinking about your answer to what they are speaking about. Be fully attentive to their words and voice. Not on what you wish to say next.
14) Watch out for your own emotions. Do let your feelings control you.
15) No matter what, speak less and listen more. I've never seen a listener who listens well when they speak as much or more than the speaker does.
16) Do not be in a hurry to leave. Never look at the time on your phone. Do not give the speaker any clue that suggests you are not interested in what they are saying.
17) Do not dominate the conversation. Let them speak. Your only job is to listen.
18) Be interested in what is being said. But don't fake it. There are few things more annoying and irritating than a listener pretending to listen to you speak.
19) The golden rule of listening is to listen to understand, not merely to listen. There's no point listening when you're not understanding what's being said.
20) No matter what, listening time is to LISTEN. Do not do anything else while they are speaking to you.
21) Don't counsel the speaker. Refrain from giving suggestions unless they have specifically asked for it.
22) Don't panic if you missed a bunch of words due to some distraction or the other. Get back to listening to the speaker from that present point as soon as you can.
23) Do not interrupt the speaker while he or she is speaking with you. Let them focus on their speaking while you focus mostly on listening.
24) Be completely centered and focused on the conversation. Be fully there while you are there.
25) Master the habit of asking the right questions. Probe them well so that you can gather more information about what they want to say to you.
26) Ask questions whenever you need more information or have not understood something that they said. But don't interrupt them while they are speaking to do so. Ask your question when they complete the sentence fully.
27) You must be totally relaxed while you listen. You just cannot listen effectively when you are stressed out, worried, tense or tired.
28) While you're working on your listening, try to find out what are the common things that tend to decrease your listening skills while you listen.
29) SILENT and LISTEN share the exact six letters. Because you just cannot listen properly to someone else while you aren't silent. Be silent while listening.
30) Think at the same rate as they speak. This maximizes the chances of you retaining most of what they have said a lot longer.
31) Let the other person know that you are following everything they are saying by nodding your head as they speak.
32) Be aware of the situation in which the speaker is speaking. People speak differently in different situations. Their emotions change as per the situation too.
33) Use all your senses when you listen. Listening is not all about your ears but also working with your eyes and your speech too.
34) Don't dream while the other person is talking. Even if you're tempted to. Be mindful while you listen.
35) Do not complete sentences for them. Please allow them to say what they want to say, how they wish to say it, don't butt in even if you're tempted to.
36) If you come across something they say that you don't agree with or misunderstood, then wait for them to complete their sentence and clear things out before allowing them to continue.
37) Don't get caught up by the way or style in which they are speaking. Focus only on what they are saying, not how they are saying it.
38) Always stop them from continuing and request them to repeat something which you missed or did not understand. If you wait till the end of the conversation then the chances are high that even the speaker won't remember what you want them to repeat for you.
39) Listen for the whole message. Do not listen in bits and pieces. Seek to understand as much as you can.
40) Resist the temptation to stop the speaker while they are sharing their story. Wait for them to finish.
41) Master the art of knowing when to speak and when to listen. In an average conversation, you must listen more to understand the other person a lot better.
42) Look at the person while they speak with you. Use your eye contact to show them that you are paying complete attention to every little word that they say.
43) Don't listen when you're mind is somewhere else. If there is too much on your mind then it's best to tell the speaker that you will have this conversation with them at a later date.
44) Keep aside time in your schedule to practice your listening skills. The more you practice it, the better you shall be as a listener.
45) Do not interrupt the speaker to take a call on your phone. If listening matters to you then you should let all your calls go to voice mail.
46) Do not worry about understanding every word that they speak. Focus instead on just listening and let your brain do the rest.
47) Don't look around the place while the speaker is speaking with you. You are bound to be distracted the moment you look left or right or anywhere else but straight at the speaker.
48) Give the other person encouragement to continue. Repeat certain key phrases in their speech and nod your head to show that you're paying total attention.
49) Do not let your ego ruin your listening skills. Avoid the temptation to allow what is being said to affect you at that time.
50) Practice your listening skills every single day. Keep half an hour aside to fine tune your listening skills. Listen to songs and try to figure out the meanings of them. Watch movies by pressing the mute button and try to figure out what the dialogues are.
It took me over 20 years to create this list of 50 ways to listen better. My efforts will not be worth it if you don't pass this epic post on Listening to all the ones in your life that could benefit from my research on this topic. Use the social buttons below to share this article with them right now.
Audio Book Creator. Life Coach. Soft Skills Trainer. Counselor.
Meditation Practitioner. Food Technologist. Frugal Marketer.
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