Being a good listener is something
that can be developed, practiced,
Listen for what they're feeling, not
just what they're saying:
People don't just communicate by their words.
Good communication, and good listening,
involves reading what's going on behind the
words. Know that you won't hear everything
you need to hear just by listening with your
ears. Develop your ability to understand the
emotions behind what they are saying.
Focus, think, and concentrate.
Try not to get distracted while someone is
talking to you. Give them your undivided
attention. Make sure that at the end of the
conversation, you are able to repeat what they
said, including their feelings about what they
are communicating to you.
Ask follow-up questions
As you listen and remember what is being
said, develop questions to further your
understanding. If you don't understand
something, don't just nod your head and go
on with the conversation. Ask about it. Learn
about what the person is communicating to
Maintain Eye Contact
Eye contact communicates back to the person
who is communicating to you that you are
listening, and you are trying to understand. If
you don't keep eye contact, you risk
communicating that you are uninterested or
not listening. Maintain eye contact except
when it is culturally unacceptable.
Do not Fidget
When you fidget, look at the clock or phone,
or appear to be rushed, you're not really
listening. You're waiting for the conversation
to be over. Instead, hold still and set all your
attention on what the speaker is
communicating to you.
Never think to yourself, "she shouldn't think
that way." This is a wall that will keep you
from really hearing the words and emotions
that the person who is speaking is trying to
convey. Validate what is being said, and don't
pass judgment until all is done.
Don’t feel Superior
Don't ever try to 1-up the person who is
communicating to you. The people you are
listening to want you to listen, not to try to
prove that you are better than them.
Listen, validate, and be what they need you to
No quick fixes
This listening skill is a little trickier, as
sometimes the people you are listening to
actually do want you to fix their problems. On
the whole, however, it is a better general rule
to avoid giving quick fixes to the problems that
the person is communicating to you,
and instead just listen. Men, women mostly
do not want your quick fixes. Again: listen,
validate, and be what they need you to be.
Don’t give unwanted advice
Advice that isn't asked for always sounds like
criticism. If you are listening, and listening well, the
person who is communicating to you is likely to
eventually ask for what you think. If they don't, then
you are off the hook, and free to keep your mouth
closed (unless the advice is necessary to keep the
Try to apply these listening skills to all of your
interpersonal interactions, and watch your retention
of what is said increase and your effectiveness in
understanding those around you jump up incredibly.