Learn on-the-go and on any device
One of the most important factors in becoming a better communicator is learning how to become a better listener. Improving your listening skills allows you to understand what the other person is truly saying and is essential in strengthening trust with both individuals and teams.
Like with most things, you can improve your listening skills by actively working to develop them. But how do you do that? Here are a few tips:
1. Be silent…kind of
You will often hear people say that being silent is the key to good listening. And there is truth to this. If you are silent, it means you are not hijacking the conversation. You are giving the other person a chance to speak and making an effort to listen to them.
But according to an article in the Harvard Business Review on what makes a great listener, people think the best listeners are those that ask questions which promote discovery and insight. Asking an occasional good question is the best way to show that you are engaged and comprehending what is being said.
2. Notice changes in body language and tone
A good listener responds to unconscious cues given off by the speaker. For example, if the speaker suddenly tenses up, a good listener will adopt a more relaxed and easygoing style. Similarly, cues like a rise in the speaker’s tone (indicating excitement) or the crossing of their arms (indicating defensiveness) should lead to a sympathetic counter-reaction from you. Train yourself to look for and respond to these cues.
3. Remove all potential distractions
If you are constantly eyeing your mobile while a person is speaking, it’s a clear sign to the speaker that you are not engaged. A key element of how to become a good listener is to put your mobile and laptop away and focus on the speaker with an appropriate amount of eye contact.
A good listener is one who builds a person’s self-esteem and courage to allow them to speak openly. By asking good questions, making an occasional suggestion, responding to nonverbal cues and staying focused, you can help them reach a higher level of confidence and openness - a nice goal for any interaction!
If you are interested in learning more about being a top-notch communicator, then check out these courses: