How to be a Better Listener

Good listening skills don?t come naturally to everybody. It?s important to understand that it is possible to become a better listener with practice. It isn?t enough to just hear what somebody is saying. Becoming a good active listener is important for developing and maintaining relationships with significant others, friends, coworkers and bosses. Listed below are a few tactics that can help a person become a better listener.

Remove Distractions

First, it?s critical to set one?s self up for success. All distractions should be removed to create the best possible listening environment. It may be impossible to keep from looking at a cellular phone during a conversation, but this rude habit needs to go. All electronics should be turned off or put away. Active listening begins with giving the speaker one?s full and undivided attention. It may be necessary to ask the speaker to go to a quiet space. This can help to eliminate potential distractions outside of phones, tablets and computers.

Eye Contact

Good eye contact is absolutely vital for active listeners. Becoming a better listener is all about making the speaker feel like he or she is incredibly important. Eye contact shows a speaker that the listener is interested in what he or she has to say. If a person isn?t looking directly at a speaker, he or she is being disrespectful and is probably not getting the intended message of the conversation.

Use Body Language

Body language can?t be neglected either. Nodding one?s head during appropriate points in a conversation is a great idea. It?s also important to adopt a relaxed non-threatening posture. Listeners should be open to communication. They shouldn?t be crossing their arms. It might also be helpful to adopt a similar posture as the speaker. This is called mirroring. It can help the speaker to feel like he or she is being properly listened to.

Ask Questions

Ultimately, a good listener asks pertinent questions. Asking questions is a great way to show that one has been paying attention. Speakers will appreciate the interest and answer questions happily. The adoption of these habits may seem difficult at first, but they are a great way to develop better listening skills. If these habits are practiced regularly, they can become natural parts of a person?s conversational skill set. Becoming a better listener is a great way to improve interpersonal relationships and relationships with coworkers and superiors.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "How to be a Better Listener," in PsychologyDictionary.org, September 9, 2013, https://psychologydictionary.org/article/how-to-be-a-better-listener/ (accessed December 11, 2019).
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