Why is active listening important? Besides being a strong personality aspect that everyone should have, it is very important for our communication and social skills.
Communication is everything in our world. We make connectionsthrough communication, we build relationships through it, and so on. And what is communication? It’s talking, but also listening!So how can we become better listeners? Keep reading to find out!
1. Maintain Eye Contact
Eye contact is super important in every conversation. It’s one of the most effective listening skills because it shows you’re interested in what the other person is saying. If you’re more introverted, there’s nothing wrong with looking away every now and then, but think about how you’d feel if someone was not looking at you while you were talking to them. When in group conversations, you should always follow the voice, which means your eye contact should be with whoever is speaking. This way, you’ll establish trust and respect with the other person, and they’ll do the same for you. Just remember to smile occasionally to give an approachable, good vibe.
2. Don’t Pay Attention To Your Phone
We are all super guilty of this one terrible habit. We are constantly on our phones. Texting or scrolling without any meaning, our phone is always in our hands, and we’re always paying attention to it. It’s not very difficult to understand how a smartphone can be harmful to healthy communication between two people. Take this scenario as an example! You are talking to someone and totally into the conversation while the other person is busy looking at their phone and don’t care about what you are saying.
How would this make you feel? Unappreciated, disrespected, or maybe even offended? Well, this is exactly how you make others feel while you play with your phone when they are talking to you. If you have this habit, you’d better cut it off and learn how to be a good listener to avoid misunderstandings and improve your relationships.
3. Remind To Repeat It Later On
One simple tip to become a better listener is by thinking that you must remember the conversation to tell it to someone else later. This will make you stay more focused throughout the conversation, which means you’ll remember more of it afterward. And since you’re not constantly worrying about what to say next, the convo will flow much more naturally.
4. Share Your Perspective
When you share your side of things, it shows you have been actively listening to what the other person had to say. Just be careful not to overwhelm the other person with your thoughts and doubts. If asked for advice, go ahead and give your perspective, but always keep in mind that you’re the listener, you’re there to support and give advice, so don’t steal the spotlight.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions
One of the most important active listening skills is asking questions instead of reading someone else’s mind. Whenever you feel curious or even doubtful about something, it’s always best to ask questions right away. By doing this, you’ll show interest in the conversation, but you’ll also be doing yourself a favor. When we disconnect or stop understanding something, we tend to give up and stop listening at all. Remember to keep your questions open, so you allow the other person to diverge in their thoughts instead of giving you a simple no or yes answer.
6. Do Not Interrupt
Whatever you do, interrupting is never the best choice. It’s normal to want to jump in the conversation with solutions and advice, but you shouldn’t do this unless it’s asked, or you feel like the other person’s idea has come to an end. Again, some people only want to vent, and they just need a listener.
7. Be Honest About How You’re Feeling In That Exact Moment
Let’s say your friend wants some advice, or your work colleague wants to talk about work. But you’re feeling super stressed about your day, or you’re in a rush for a doctor’s appointment. Whatever the case might be, you should always be honest about it because your focus or listening skills won’t be as efficient as they would be if you were having a normal day. Think of it like this, you’ve just been broken up with, and today your friend asks you for some advice on their dating problems.
Because you had such a bad experience with love recently, your advice will most likely be negative towards relationships, because you’ll be thinking about your situation, even if unconsciously. Sometimes it’s best to say “not today,” you’ll be doing yourself and the other person a favor.
8. Listening Is A Win/Win Situation
Your good listening skills will make you a great listener, friend, and advisor, but you’ll also feel like the people you listen to will listen to you later as efficiently. As long as you’re building a relationship, you’ll notice they’ll listen to you as you listen to them, and that’s how a true healthy friendship or relationship must work. What you give is what you get, so make sure to give your best.
9. Rest Your Mind
Last but not least, the ultimate key to good communication is by having a clear mind. And how do you have a clear mind? By doing things that relax you. It can be going for a walk, run, reading a book, listening to music, exercising, or simply catching some fresh air. Most of us are unable to be good listeners when we’re too tired or stressed, so by doing some of these things, you’ll be allowing your mind to heal and rejuvenate. Now that you know how to improve listening skills, you must put them to the test! Start slowly, with the easiest tips, and work your way up. Working on our communication skills is hard work, and it doesn’t happen overnight, so be patient and try your best!