Listen Up: How To Improve Your Listening Skills

We all know 'that guy' or 'that girl'...

We all have a friend or a coworker in the office who likes to give opinions on everything without caring what everybody else has to say.

Those are the kind of assholes that have a problem with the concept of listening.  They don't have the patience to listen to what others have to say and are aggressively bent on forcing their opinions on others.

Time to reflect: are you (or have you ever been) the kind of person I just mentioned?  Even if you're not that you tend to think about what you're going to say next instead of actually listening to what someone is saying??

Is that kind of behavior affecting your social and personal life?

I was like this too.  Then it was made clear to me by a close friend that I had this bad habit, so I figured out how to improve myself.  Here's how I did it.​

1. Pay Active Attention

Listening is not only about waiting for your turn to speak, it is about actually paying attention to what others have to say and being actively involved in the process of absorbing whatever information is being offered.

Always maintain an eye contact, exchange a smile or two and provide relevant feedback to whatever your partner or date is saying. Also take a note the body language and respond accordingly with a smile, or a nod in approval when appropriate. Don't act like a pre-programmed robot either.

Look alive. Be involved.

2: Learn Not to Interrupt

While it is important to show interest and provide relevant feedback during a conversation, keep in mind not to interrupt and derail the speaker's train of thought.

Reserve your questions and comments until the speaker has finished speaking. Allowing the speaker to finish speaking helps you understand their point and in turn helps you respond more intelligently.

3. Interrupt When Absolutely Necessary

In exception to the previous rule, in circumstances when you are dealing with someone who keeps going on and on, it is entirely justified to interrupt him/her. You don't have listen to their boring story about how they raised chickens on a farm in Australia for 2 hours.

Ask them questions and when required to interrupt their flow of thoughts. Keep in mind though not to appear rude.

4. Maintain Your Cool.

In instances when the speaker is saying something that is either wrong or not in line with your thoughts, don't get defensive. Keep your cool and respond with class and eloquence. Carefully word your response and turn their arguments against them in the form of a question or a query.

For example, if someone says "Women get away with what they want by using their emotions" and you don't agree, don't come at them like a rabid dog.  Asking something like, "Are you saying that women overuse their emotions as a weapon in order to get what they want?" you'll soften the disagreement and actually prompt them to consider what they've just said.

5. Listening To A Bad Conversationalist

If the other person you are talking to happen to speak in broken sentences, stutters, or is not a good conversationalist, as a good listener you need to ask open-ended questions to keep the conversations going. "I heard you collect vintage coins...what do you find so fascinating about them?"  Or, "How old are the coins in your collections?"  Asking questions about something that arouses interest in the other person helps break the ice and makes the conversation interesting.

Being a good listener is important in order to succeed in every aspect of life; professional or personal. Being a good listener helps you make better decisions and judgments and adds a charm to your personality.

You won't believe how many people will think you're awesome at conversation when all you're doing is simply listening, asking good questions, and showing you're engaged in what THEY are talking about.

How has being a good listener impacted your life?

Drop a comment and let us know.

About the author

John Camdir

John is a freelance writer and armchair philosopher with an attitude. He enjoys waxing philosophical about men's issues, as well as reading.

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