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How to be a Good Listener

How to be a good listener

How to be a good listener

Listening is an important communication skill. Being a good listener promotes better understanding of colleagues, reduces conflict and enhances personal relationships.

To be a good listener you need to:

  1. Give 100% attention.
  2. Try to Visualise.
  3. Ask clarifying questions.
  4. Don't interrupt.
  5. Encourage them often.
  6. Don't argue.
  7. Empathise with them.
  8. Give eye contact.

1. Give the other 100% full attention.

The key to good listening is to PAY ATTENTION.

Don't let your mind drift off-topic. Keep your mind on the job.

2. Try to Visualise.

Try to visualise their content.

If they are telling you about their holiday, actively try to picture what they are saying, in your mind's eye. The more you can "see what they mean" the better.

3. Ask clarifying questions.

If you cannot "see what they mean", then don't guess, ask them to be more specific.

You should ask them, "When you say that, what do you mean specifically?"

4. Don't interrupt.

You may often feel the urge to interrupt.

Fight that urge.

If you think the other person is wrong, then you can correct them later, but avoid the error of interrupting. It is rude and it antagonises.

5. Encourage them often.

It is good to encourage people to keep talking.

Encouragement can take many forms, such as a simple smile and nod of the head.

Or you ask questions such as, "What happened next?"

The more you encourage others to talk, the greater will be your reputation as a good conversationalist.

6. Don't argue.

If the person happens to say something with which you disagree, then don't argue directly.

Instead, ask questions.

For instance, if the other person said, "We could eradicate poverty by having the government print lots of new money and give everyone a million pounds".

Rather than say, "That's a stupid idea!" you could ask, "If the government printed billions of extra pounds, what do you think would happen to the VALUE of the money in your pocket?"

7. Empathise with them.

Empathy is acknowledging another's feelings which are based on beliefs you don't share.

Even if you don't agree with what the other says, you should try to empathise with them.

8. Give eye contact.

A good way to improve your listening skills is to maintain good eye contact.

By keeping eye contact with the person to whom you are talking, it shows that you are focused and paying attention to what they are saying.

Practice and perfect these points and your clients, colleagues and friends will appreciate your good listening skills.

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