Are You A Good Listener?

Are you a good listener?

We know a lot about others for what they say and tell. If we are good listeners, then, we can learn a lot from people, their intentions and underlying messages. Active listening is essential when it comes to understanding others; hearing is a physical ability, but listening is a social skill. 

By actively listening, we capture what the other person is trying to convey and, in addition, the subject will have an input to continue talking. It is important that the other perceives that you are listening to him and in this way he will open up more and more. Without a doubt,  knowing how to listen is one of the best qualities we can cultivate as human beings.

Within communication, everything counts, not only what we say, but also our gestures and our bodily expressions in general. Being able to read beyond the words, the gestures of others, is of great help.

It is very sad, but it has been proven that we only listen to half of what our interlocutor tells us and then we remember half of it. Painful, right? We usually listen to what we want, as well as see what interests us. In the end,  we seek confirmation of our expectations in the words of others. Logically, with this panorama, misunderstandings and misunderstandings are the order of the day. Eventually the message arrives distorted and full of errors.

The problem is that we all react based on what we believe the other wants to tell us and if we have misunderstood it, our reaction will be inadequate and conflicts may arise that neither side wanted. 

Benefits of listening actively

By actively listening we can:

– Better understand what is expected of us.

– Develop a more harmonious relationship with our work colleagues, family, friends, partners.

– Solve problems more easily.

– Capturing implicit meanings.

How to improve our ability to listen?

Ultimately we can all improve in this area. Below we suggest how to do it:

1.  Be patient and calm. Give your interlocutor time to express himself calmly, not everyone is a great communicator.

2.  Try to focus on what you are doing.  Don’t think about what happened yesterday or what you need to do next. Don’t do three different things while someone is talking to you.

3.  Focus on the person who is speaking to you. This is fundamental: you don’t have to think about what you will say shortly. Sometimes it happens that instead of listening to the other, we listen to our own thoughts, internally affirming or denying what we are told. In other words, don’t listen to yourself.

4.  Don’t let your mind wander. Make an effort not to have mental distractions.

5.  Ask yourself questions. This is a good way to start the conversation with the other person and give them the opportunity to express themselves.

6. Summarize what you are hearing. This is a great way to clear things up. Sometimes people don’t say what they really mean and by summing up, you help them to better verbalize their feelings and ideas.

7. Observe the body language and what is not said. Listen to the feelings and ideas behind the words.

8. Don’t interrupt. This is very unpleasant for someone who is trying to communicate an idea. In fact, it is a good idea to pause for a moment before starting to speak. This will not rush the other person and let them know that you are listening to them.

It is very important to learn to listen to others, but even if it seems a very simple thing, in reality there  are very few people who can really listen, with a sincere interest in what the interlocutor is about to say.

If we strive to listen actively, we will have nothing to lose and much to gain. This simple detail can change our life and our interpersonal relationships. After all, who doesn’t like being heard?

Image courtesy of Jesper Sachmann

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