Improve Your Social Skills: Be a Better Listener
In order to become a better listener, you must learn to put aside your ego and place other people’s voices above your own. Of course it feels good to say what’s on our mind, but if we spend the majority of our time talking instead of listening we will never learn anything new.
But what is it that makes a good listener? Talking is just repeating things we already know, while listening actually opens the doors of opportunity to a better life. Both speaking and listening are important in order to validate our true opinions and revise our incorrect ones. However, listening is the far more powerful and underutilized tool for self-development.
Learn to Listen and People Will Want to Hear What You Have to Say: Incorporate Some of These Listening Strategies to Improve Your Social Skills
Communication skills in modern society are of the utmost importance. When it comes to communication, it’s not always what you say that matters but what you don’t say.
Get Rid of Old Habits
Learning how to be a better listener is not a simple or quick process. If you have a habit of interrupting others, or an inability to pay attention to half the things that are being said to you, you need to focus on thinking more in the present. If you are overeager to state your opinion, you risk speaking too soon and devaluing what the other person has to say.
By having the mindset that every other person and their opinion is important and has a right to be heard, you are giving respect. People who know how to respect others live an easier life. These people are in control of every conversation, without even having to say anything productive or worthwhile. Valuable insight can come from any person at any time, if you know how to listen.
The Benefits of Selective Hearing
The world is becoming louder and louder. It’s becoming so loud, in fact, it’s getting difficult to filter in what’s important and what’s not. In order to tune out all of the noise sometimes we need to listen for the subtle and the quiet. Sometimes we need to read in between the lines.
Perhaps you have selective hearing, which isn’t always a bad thing. Even if you struggle to pay attention to a topic that doesn’t interest you, you are still able to pick up key words and respond accordingly. Effective listening means more than just nodding your head and agreeing. It means asking questions, following up, and showing the proper empathetic emotions.
Five questions for a better understanding:
Asking question about something you don't understand entirely is the best way to reach the point where you and the person you are talking to are one the same page; not to mention the fact that in conveys the message you are an interesting person.
Why does he doe that?
When you were in the shower?
Where were you?
How could he?
Effective empathetic follow-ups:
Following up lets them know immediately that you are not just listening but can't get enough and want more. With the right followups you are on the swift track to become a great listener. Look at you. I can't hear you. Oh, that's right! Your listening. Go listener!
Let them know you are on the same page.
Tell me more!
As interesting as it gets. But don't push it. The other party may take it as a sign of sarcasm. Though if that every happens to you, make contact. This lets them know your feelings are sincere.
I know how you feel.
I feel you.
Listen to Body Language
Being a good listener is sometimes more than just using your ears. Use your eyes to become attuned to body language. Hand movements, facial expressions, and body positioning can tell you just as much about what someone is saying as their actual words. Eye contact shows the other person that you are listening.
If you feel eye contact is not your strong point, remember that practice makes perfect. If eye contact is one of your weaknesses, be more conscious of that fact while you are talking to someone. If you spend the entire conversation looking elsewhere, some people might get the impression that your mind is pre-occupied.
Stop Interrupting Others
Interrupting others is a terrible habit that can destroy any chance you have at making a good first impression. In order to correct this, you must think before you talk. In your next conversation, may your goal be to listen first, and talk second .If you have something important to say, wait until they are done talking. Wait for pauses in conversation to put your two cents in.
Know what you want to say before you chime in. If you forget what you had to say, it most likely means that it didn’t matter. However, what people will remember is that you listened and acknowledged what they had to say, showing that you respected their opinion, so keep that in mind.
Practice Listening to More Than One Person
In groups involving more than two people, listening becomes an even more necessary asset. When many people are gathered in one place, there is more than just one opinion worth listening to. There will often be at least one person who establishes themselves as the dominant speaker, vying for attention most of the time. If that person is you, consider taking opportunities to back up from that role. You may be drowning out other people’s voice without even realizing.
Big groups should be your opportunity to observe others communicating with each other. Spend your time thinking about contributing something valuable to the conversation, rather than just rambling.
The Importance of Listening in Relationships
Relationships are most rewarding for those that know how to listen effectively. People who practice listening are more likely to make new relationships, and are more likely to keep them. The advantages are especially true considering that shyness is a trait very desirable among men. And those that are able to keep quiet sometimes are often seen as more shy and mysterious. But make no mistake, listening is a skill that is desired by both men and women alike. It is a great asset to know you have a partner that will listen to anything and everything you have to say.
It All Starts When You Decide
Make a decision today to live more consciously. Practice these strategies on how to be a better listener; by doing so you are deciding to live life to its fullest. We have eyes and we have ears, but if we refuse to open them to any and all incoming sights and sounds we are cheating ourselves of a more fruitful life. When you speak, speak softly. Your attention to details should be reflected in the way you listen. If everyone in the world began to adopt this mindset, we would be much closer to a world of connection and understanding.