Listening skills are hugely important in just about every aspect of life, and while many people may think that they already are a good listener, there are still likely to be some areas in which you could improve. From understanding the importance of eye contact to ignoring all distractions, following these tips will help you to really improve on your listening skills.
Ignore All Distractions
One of the key aspects to being a good listener is knowing how to ignore all distractions around you, focussing solely on the person who is speaking. While this may seem easy, it does take a certain level of mental effort to really eliminate all distractions, but this will show the speaker just how much you care about what they are saying.
Eye contact is vital when someone is speaking, as it shows that you are engaged in the conversation, and are paying full attention. This is another area that can often require quite a bit of mental effort, but is easy to practice each time you have a conversation with someone.
Positive Body Language
While listening means that you should not be talking, your body language can still speak for you. Rather than fidgeting around, crossing your arms, or gazing across the room, lean forward towards the speaker, in an enthusiastic, but relaxed nature.
Ask the Right Questions
A good listener does not just sit there silently and be spoken at, but rather knows how to further the conversation, opening up new paths, by asking the right questions. This is a skill that can take some time to master, as you need to learn how to be able to shape the conversation with the questions that you choose.
Show Some Empathy
Empathy is so important, even if you do not completely relate to what is being said. By taking a moment to put yourself in the speaker’s shoes, trying to understand exactly how they are feeling, you will be much better equipped to display a genuine form of compassion that will be greatly appreciated. Even if you make a mistake and fail to fully understand the situation, the speaker will still be able to see that you are trying to have empathy, and this will make a huge difference.
Don’t Change the Subject
Changing the subject prematurely is quite common in business settings, as well as social group encounters, but this only shows that you do not have an interest in the subject being discussed, and think that what you have to say is more important. The only time in which you should change the subject of a conversation is when that particular discussion is well and truly over.
Listening skills will aid you in just about every part of your life, from dealing with colleagues at the office to personal relationships at home. Even if you feel that you already are a great listener, listening skills can always be improved, and it really does not take too much effort to do so.