How To Be a Good Listener: Never before has it been more crucial — or challenging — for leaders to be effective listeners. Job switching is common, and working remotely prevents us from picking up on nonverbal clues that we would in an in-person encounter. Employers that don’t hear their employees’ problems and don’t thoughtfully address them will experience more employee turnover. The danger is obvious given that top performers who can take customers and projects with them and the frontline staff accountable for the customer experience have the greatest rates of turnover.
Although listening is a talent that is highly valued by everybody, it is rarely, if ever, expressly taught as such outside of therapy training. The sort of ability that benefits from coaching—ongoing, customized training from someone who is familiar with your unique strengths, shortcomings, and, most crucially, habits—is listening effectively. No more than reading an essay about balance will make you into Simone Biles, reading this article won’t make you a champion listener. Our goals are to help you better understand what effective listening is and to provide you with suggestions based on evidence about how to do so.
The 7 Steps to Improving Your Listening
There are a few essential communication skills that are helpful in every conversation, whether it be about sports, mental health, or anything in between. No matter how simple or complex the subject, it’s critical to develop listening skills as a foundation. The following are the seven essential elements of effective listening.
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1. Establish a welcoming environment and provide opportunities for conversation: Making a chance for a meaningful conversation with another person in a setting where both of you feel at ease is the first step towards doing so. Give someone in your life the chance to chat if you think they are in need and attempting to open up. Ask them out for a drink.
Provide to grab lunch. visit a baseball game By making the offer, you’ve shown that you’re willing to listen if they want to discuss, and by picking a calm environment, the conversation will be less under strain. And most essential, go ahead and speak once you’ve given someone the chance.
2. Talk less and listen more: Participating in the discussion is one of the most crucial aspects of listening. Keep your focus and resist becoming sidetracked. Pay attention to the present moment. Be receptive to what is being discussed and show willingness to contribute.
It may not be obvious to us, but it can be challenging for many to stay attentive throughout a discussion. Being present might be challenging for many people since they are always mulling over their next move. Your thoughts will be preoccupied with what to say when the other person has completed speaking after you have listened to the initial portion of what they have to say. They may also confide in you about a personal issue, at which point you start brainstorming solutions. This isn’t happening right now. This isn’t listening, though.
It’s simple to believe that the things you say and add during a discussion are what matter most. Letting the other person speak and be heard might occasionally be the most important element of a conversation. Keep in mind that it’s not about you.
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3. Adapt to silences: Even while silences might be uncomfortable, they don’t have to be. We frequently try to replace the awkwardness of silence by talking, but this ultimately prevents the conversation from progressing or becoming more meaningful.
Silences give individuals time to reflect and get inspiration on whatever is being spoken. It allows us some time to process new knowledge and think about how it affects us emotionally. Additionally, it provides us an opportunity to think about what to say next and the right questions to ask. It enables us to experience vulnerability.
A doctor explains that after asking a question, he will wait for a patient’s response in silence for a number of minutes. It results in him and the individuals he talks to having a greater knowledge of one another. He tells his audience that some of the most profound discussions in life involve little talking.
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4. Pose insightful queries: Make sure the questions you ask are there to assist you grasp what the person is saying while you’re listening to them talk about something challenging. The knowledge that one has been heard and understood is one of the most important components of feeling validated.
Ask a question that mirrors what they’ve said to demonstrate that you’re paying attention and attempting to comprehend. For instance, “I heard this, is that what you meant?” or “You’re saying this, then. Have I got that right?” This is a straightforward query that demonstrates that you have been paying attention to what they have said and, more significantly, that you have taken efforts to ensure your understanding.
Ask inquiries about the details you don’t grasp if they’re talking about a scenario you have little to no experience with. For example, “I want to learn more, but that seems incredibly difficult. Can you elaborate on this point for me?”
Both of these examples of active listening. This ability demonstrates to the other person that you are listening to what they have to say while also validating the person who has chosen to open up to you.
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5. When Sharing Your Personal Experience, Use Caution: In a difficult talk, it might occasionally be beneficial to share your own experience. Sharing an adventure together may strengthen a connection. Being open and honest about your challenges might reassure someone that they are not alone in their struggles. In certain situations, your narrative might offer prospective solutions and examples of how to better their own circumstances.
But it’s crucial to refrain from making recommendations. Do not exploit your own vulnerabilities to tell someone else how to “fix” their issues. Avoid using phrases such, “I’ve experienced a similar event. I did as follows. Do it, you ought to.” Never presume that what works for you will also work for others.
Everybody and every circumstance are unique. What functions for you might not function for them. Listening is your responsibility; solving their problem is not. Be careful not to make the conversation about you when you are sharing. In some circumstances, telling your own experience might be really beneficial, but if you dominate the conversation, you aren’t helping them.
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6. Do not worry about speaking the truth: We presume that the one difficult talk will be the last much too frequently. We believe we only have one opportunity to make the other person feel understood throughout the talk. Something negative could occur if we are unable to say the correct thing, at the right moment, in the appropriate way.
That is simply untrue. In fact, worrying that you won’t say anything incorrectly will make you lose focus and make you a poor listener. Participate in the conversation honestly, pay attention, and be present.
You are not required to be the conversation’s protagonist. Being heard and validated is more beneficial to the other person than any advise you may offer. You may always chat more at a later time. There will always be another chance. In life, like in discussions, there are no neat solutions. Most of them are only the beginning of a richer, longer conversation and a closer friendship.
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7. Validate Their Vulnerability: It’s challenging to confide in someone else. Being vulnerable to another person requires a lot of strength. One of the bravest things a person can do is to express their emotions; doing so is not weak. So communicate that to the other individual. Thank them for being so honest. Express gratitude for the person’s faith in you.
By recognizing the other person’s vulnerability, even in a tiny way, you can start a dialogue. a chance for you to inquire about their day. and engage in another insightful conversation. A person’s troubles will never be resolved in a single conversation. Consider the first step of help to be the unpleasant talk.
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Being an engaged listener requires a lot of focus and willpower. If your listening skills are as poor as many people’s are, it will take a lot of effort to overcome these negative habits since they are hard to break. Your active listening abilities can be improved using the following five methods:
a. Be mindful.
b. Display your listening skills.
c. Give comments.
d. Withhold judgment.
e. React accordingly.
To boost your productivity at work, build stronger connections, and become a better communicator, start adopting active listening strategies right away.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC, is a Law Student and a Certified Mediator/Conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a Developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and React Native. Samuel is bent on changing the legal profession by building Web and Mobile Apps that will make legal research a lot easier.