How to Become a Better Listener
By: Devika Sunand
Most of the time when I see people having conversations, I find that it’s just a random exchange of words with no time, energy, and emotion invested, which led me to write this article. Active listening is one of the most underrated skills in my opinion. It is also the most difficult skill to teach and master. Why?
Listening has been, for long considered a passive skill but guess what, listening is one of the important communication skills, and the price for lack of communication can be quite heavy, be it at a workplace or in the case of your relationships. Active listening is key in earning the trust of others and in helping them understand their situations.
Many a time, the whole concept of listening to understand becomes non-existent in conversations. It is more if ‘listening to respond’ than ‘listening to understand’, where it is just a series of comebacks from each side destroying the essence of the conversation. listening to respond is the idea that you are already forming what you want to say in response whilst the other person is speaking.
“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.”Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen
TIP 1: Be patient
Not everyone will necessarily tell you everything in one go. people may take time in opening up and that’s normal. what you could do at this stage is just to be patient and let them know that they could count on you! Isn’t that the same you would expect if you were in their place?
TIP 2: Pay attention
When someone is speaking to you, try to keep your phone aside, look at them, notice their eye contact and their body language. our body language speaks much more than we think. All you have to do is pay attention.
TIP 3: Don’t interrupt
This one can be tricky. Give them a chance to explain even if you do not agree one bit with what they are saying because there is a good percentage of chance that what they say in the end could flip the whole thing. This could help you, as a listener to interpret and understand the conversation better.
TIP 4: Paraphrase
Even though it may sound weird, paraphrasing what the speaker said, indicates that you have understood what they said and helps you frame appropriate responses.
TIP 5: Be respectful
Throughout the conversation, try to understand the situation from their perspective and be respectful with your words and body language. One of the key aspects of active listening is to, listen to the speaker the way, you want to be heard.