We mostly listen to jump to conclusions or interrupt with our own opinion and point of view on the matter, especially if we don’t like what we’re hearing.
There are two types of listeners, one who actually listens and keeps an open mind to learn something new and one who wants to impose their own opinion and add nothing to their previously acquired information.
Here are a few ways you can become a good listener and actually listen.
By Mariam Elhamy
1. Shhh. Just listen, don’t interrupt and quit making fast assumptions. Let the other person finish their whole thought before you make your own conclusion about it.
2. Leave all distractions behind. If you want to really listen, put your phone on silent and turn it upside down. If you’re waiting for a call then this is not the right time to listen.
3. Focus on the other person, watch them as they talk and look directly to them, not around the room. Maintain eye contact, seeing the other person’s body language helps you understand them better. Be open, so don’t cross your arms or sit in a defensive pose.
4. Listen with the intention of learning something new. You might normally let other people talk so that they can feel heard, but go into this conversation with the idea that you want to learn something new about that person.
5. Ask questions. Again, before jumping to conclusions you need to know more about what the other person is saying. Show them you are attentive by asking questions.
For example, if they are telling you how you offended them in front of your friends last night, instead of getting defensive and denying it, ask: ‘Why do you think I offended you last night?’.
6. Don’t anticipate. You might find yourself disagreeing too quickly, then after you think about it you actually agree and vice versa.
7. Use a ratio of 2 to 1, let the other person talk twice as you so that you can actually listen to what they say before forming your own idea.
8. You could repeat to them what they said the way you understand it so that if they need to clarify they get the chance to do so before you reply.
9. Be relaxed when you reply. For the best outcome in a conversation, try not to let your emotions get ahead of you.
10. You might not need to reply at all. In that case, someone just wants you to listen with an open mind and heart.