Humans have an eight-second attention span on average. If you want to get things done, you’ll need to improve your skills. With electronic distractions competing for your time and an abundance of responsibilities at work, it is difficult to listen attentively to someone else speak.
What is the importance of listening?
Most people are not good listeners. They are excellent pretenders.
True listening, on the other hand, necessitates more effort than most people are willing to expend. A good conversation requires “give and take.” Most people, on the other hand, want to simply give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as a listener may appear tedious, but it is necessary. Attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying shows concern and respect. The problem is that attending necessitates an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatever—rather than listening—the most thoughtful act. People frequently feel unheard and unacknowledged when they are not actively listening. That is why everyone must learn how to listen better.
How to Improve Your Listening Skills
But, for the sake of conversation, let’s say you need some work on your listening skills and decide to improve after reading this article. So, what are some of the steps you need to take to make that happen? How can you improve your listening skills?
1. Pay Close Attention
A good listener is alert. They are not looking at their watch, phone, or making dinner plans. They’re concentrated and listening to what the other person is saying. This is known as active listening. It is natural for one’s mind to wander. We are, after all, human. A good listener, on the other hand, will rein in those thoughts as soon as they notice their attention slipping.
2. Make Use of Positive Body Language
Body language can reveal a lot about a person. Are they intrigued, bored, or worried? The body language of a good listener is open. They lean forward, interested in what is being said. Their facial expressions are either smiling, concerned, or conveying empathy. They are informing the speaker that they have been heard.
3. Do not interrupt the speaker.
Interrupting is considered disrespectful. It essentially says, “What I have to say is far more important than what you have to say.” Interrupting the speaker makes them feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant. When you interrupt a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., the speaker loses track of what they are saying. It’s extremely aggravating.
Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person has finished speaking. Be courteous and wait your turn! This will help you improve your listening skills.
4. Ask Questions
One of the best ways to demonstrate your interest is to ask questions. Don’t say “that’s nice” when someone tells you about their ski trip to Mammoth. That would imply disinterest and disrespect. You could instead ask, “How long have you been skiing?” “Did you find learning difficult?” “What was your favorite aspect of the trip?” and so on. Just by asking a few questions, the person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist.
5. Simply Listen
This may appear to be counterintuitive. When you talk to someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all you have to do is listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel as if they are truly heard and understood.
6. Recall and Follow-Up
Remembering what the speaker has said to you and following up with them is part of being a great listener. “People who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions,” according to research, “may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”
It is extremely simple to demonstrate your concern. Simply recall a few facts and follow up on them. You will make more friends and improve your listening skills if you do this regularly.
7. Maintain Confidential Information Confidential
Listen carefully if you want to be a better listener. If what you’re hearing is private, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it is to tell someone else, especially if you have mutual friends. Being a good listener entails being trustworthy and sensitive to information shared. Whatever is confided in you is not to be revealed. They will be relieved to know that they can share their burden with someone without fear of it spilling over.
8. Keep Eye Contact
When someone speaks, they are usually saying something important to them. They don’t want their listener reading a text, inspecting their fingernails, or bending down to pet a street dog. A speaker wants everyone’s attention. It shows them that what they’re saying is valuable. Eye contact is extremely effective. It can convey a lot of information without saying anything. I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare; just a glance in the speaker’s direction will suffice. Make it a point to maintain eye contact with your conversation partner the next time you’re in one.
Listening attentively will strengthen your bond with anyone in your life. Listening skills are more important than ever now when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media. Simply being present, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters can help you build better, more honest, and deeper relationships. Isn’t that a fantastic goal? To make people feel as if they are important? So get out there and practice your listening skills. You have two excellent ears. Now put them to use!Featured Image Source: Westend61
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