qualities of a good listener

10 qualities of a good listener

Recently I traveled to the place where I was born. I have some relatives there. I haven’t seen them for a few years, so I was looking forward to catching up. This time it was different for me. I was seeking a meaningful and deep connection with some of my relatives. I was genuinely interested in how they have been doing.

I appreciated how important it is to be heard and to be a good listener. Being heard validates us and listening is a magnetic force that draws people to us.

There were times when I noticed during a conversation how a person or people were not really listening to what I was talking about. I felt insulted, unimportant and disrespected, but didn’t show my feelings and just hid in my shell. Their inability or unwillingness to hear me felt like a slap in the face.

I still remember those ugly feelings and work diligently to ensure that people never feel the same way when they talk to me.

In this blog post I would like to highlight 10 things that I implement myself to improve my listening skills:

qualities of a good listener

Eyes – are the mirror of the soul. Keeping eye contact is crucial during a conversation. The connection becomes more meaningful if you look into the person’s eyes. Eye contact can give you much more information about the person’s true feelings than just words while showing the speaker your full attention.

Don’t interrupt and don’t put unnecessary comments in. I have a good friend. She is a very caring and sincere person. However, when we have been catching up after a while, she has been constantly interrupting me with her comments and jokes. It frustrated me to the point that I didn’t even want to continue my talking. I know that she probably wasn’t doing it on purpose or hasn’t realized that it disturbed me. I told her once how her inappropriate interruptions made me feel and since then our shared conversations and generally relationship improved a lot.

Be present and mindful. This is a very important point. Research suggests that we only remember between 25 – 50 percent of what we hear. Being present and focused on the discussion is super important if you really want to hear what another person is trying to tell you. Don’t get destructed by constantly buzzing phone or by whatever else may be going on around you, or by forming counter arguments while the other person is still speaking.

Be non-judgemental and open to new ideas and information. Good listening requires an open mind. Seeing things from other people’s points of view can be massively effective with good communication and listening. We should approach each conversation from a place of wanting to grow. Even when good listeners have strong views, they suspend judgment, hold their criticism and avoid arguing or selling their point right away.

Let them go first. Let’s say, you discuss a hot topic or have a strong view on a particular subject, if you a good listener, you let your partner express himself first and tell your opinion afterward. It is a polite thing to do and it shows that you value the other person’s opinion.

good listening skills

Don’t change the subject. Don’t leave the speaker hanging out there with a conversation topic they’ve started by abruptly changing the subject. Offer a response or an additional thought to the topic before you move on to something you want to talk about.

Think about what the other person is saying and not what you should respond with. Some people focus on how they are going to reply when someone is talking to them, rather than absorbing and understanding what their partner is trying to communicate. Instead of thinking of your response, try to fully absorb what your partner is trying to say to you, and view every conversation you have as a learning opportunity.

Make a pause before your response. Make sure that the speaker finished speaking. Only when you feel like your partner finished his/her speech, take a couple of seconds pause before your reply. It makes the conversation flow smoothly and gives your partner a chance to refocus from giving the information to receiving it.

“Listen” to the speaker’s body language. Hearing someone’s words is just a small part of being a good listener. We communicate far more through our expressions, body language, and tone of voice. When you are listening to someone, also watch them carefully. The posture, how they hold their arms or keep their legs can talk more expressively than just a told message. Learn to read other people’s expressions and body language. Watch for the things that go unsaid but that are still communicated.

Respond by asking questions. Asking the right questions is part of interpreting the listening process. The goal of questions should be to gain information but also to clarify certain points discussed, to “reflect” them back to the speaker. Open-ended questions draw people out and encourage them to expand their ideas while inviting a thoughtful response.

Just like becoming a better speaker, there are many benefits of becoming a better listener. By developing better listening skills, you will be able to get more information out of the conversations you have, increase others’ trust in you, and people will be drawn to your inviting personality.

With much love

Julia

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