A Good Listener Does Not Just Listen

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Information about A Good Listener Does Not Just Listen
Education

Published on March 9, 2014

Author: jeremyngyw

Source: slideshare.net

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The art of listening is definitely a skill worth learning. Being a good listener will improve the quality of any kind of relationship.

A Good Listener Does Not Just Listen (This article is from a blog post in JersPassageway.com) “What’s up? You look like you’re having a really tough time. Care to share whatever’s troubling you? I’m a good listener.” You do not want to end up feeling worse than you already did by the end of the conversation. You take it upon him that he meant what he said about being a good listener, and decide to trust this guy. So there you go, confiding in him and pouring out all your troubles… While at it, he constantly checks his mobile messages, his eyeballs wander everywhere but on you, he occasionally adds in a few “yeah, I know how that feels,” and he slouches with an attitude that tells you going home is more important than your plight. He is plain inattentive. Has such an experience ever occurred to you? 10 Simple Tips To Becoming A Better Listener Yes, you heard me right. A good listener does not just listen. But first things first, let’s define what listening means. Listening is the DESIRE to hear. If you are making a tough decision on which dress to get in a crowded shopping mall, all that noise around you is what you hear. If you go to a live orchestral concert and are not dozing off, chances are you are listening. Hearing is passive, listening is active. Keep that in mind as you read on.

So here are my 10 simple tips to becoming a better listener. Imagine a setting in Starbucks with a friend sitting opposite you. It’s Sunday morning and your friend has some crazy things to tell you about. 1. Maintain good eye contact Like every other good conversation, you would always want to make sure you maintain that eye contact. Make sure your eyes meet his, but break that contact comfortably and appropriately whenever you have to. You don’t want to stare and look like a serial killer. I don’t like to “stare at his forehead.” I prefer to learn how to be a natural and be comfortable with conversing with different kinds of people. No amount of self-help books can help you with that. Just get your ass out there and start talking to people. Having your eyes wander around all the time and being distracted by things that are going on around the environment just goes to show that those things are more important than what he has to say. (It might even show your lack of confidence.) 2. Adopt a listening position Yes. Don’t slouch, fidget, and whatnot. But here’s something that I like to do. Leaning forward. It just shows your enthusiasm and your desire to know more. Just remember to respect his personal space. That could vary depending on your relationship, the setting, cultures, and possibly more. Act accordingly. 3. Shut your mobile phone! Okay, you don’t really have to shut it. Just ignore those messages, or put it to vibration or silent mode. Doing so shows that you are living in the present conversation and not elsewhere. That message can wait. I don’t care how important you think it might be, it just isn’t. And if it happens to really be anyway, tell your friend he has to learn how to call and speak. I always call for anything that needs immediate attention and text if it doesn’t. (Have you had a friend who texted you for help when he got lost trying to find the meeting place?) 4. Do not pressure/hurry Do not rush and make him feel uneasy. He should feel comfortable with sharing at his own pace. Help to guide his thoughts and shape what’s being shared. You might find that one occasionally has difficulty in expressing himself, and that’s where you could step in.

I’m totally guilty of this with some people. Sometimes I would nod my head hurriedly, signalling to “move on to the important bits.” Little did I know that those “unimportant info” actually meant something for this person. 5. No assumptions No matter how much you think you might know of him, do not assume you know what’s going to come out of his lips. So long as you are not 100% accurate, then you have failed to predict it. Always keep an open mind and do not start the conversation with any pre-formed opinion. That includes certain judgements and stereotypes that you might already have. It might be tempting to do so sometimes when you think you’re a smart aleck. But don’t. And don’t judge. Nobody likes to be judged, period. 6. Ask questions and respond Being a good listener often means having to ask questions. It’s all about showing that you desire a deeper understanding of what is being shared, and that it’s important to you just as it is to him. Questions can vary and you can be really creative here. Have an insatiable curiosity! Then provide your own feedback and objective opinions. That doesn’t mean agreeing with everything. Feedback sometimes can just mean paraphrasing a message they have told you about in a clear manner, showing that you’ve understood what is said. Don’t overdo it though, or it might seem like you read that from some self-help book. That would make you look silly. 7. Ability to empathize

Because you’re usually not on the same wavelength, this is one of the tougher skills to learn. But at the same time, it is one of the most important ones, especially if your friend is sharing an unpleasant experience. One simple way would be to share a personal story that relates with his message. That is if you have one. Another very good way, though one which most people fail in, is to be vulnerable with your friend. Removing whatever masks we are putting on and revealing our deepest feelings to someone is vital for creating a strong emphatic bond. This helps in connecting emotionally with him, allowing you to enter his mind-space. Being able to empathize doesn’t necessarily mean asking questions to dig more about your friend’s story. Especially if he is telling you about a terrible experience. There is a fine line between being concerned and being nosy. 8. Interruption! This is common sense right? Just make sure you’re not too excited that you cut people off or react hysterically. Monitor your emotional buttons and control your physical reactions. That being said, learning to interrupt appropriately is actually a skill used by good listeners. Interrupting isn’t all negative. Neither is just listening all that positive! My best friends would know when to do either of them. 9. Stop your darned monologue When your friend is finally talking, that’s not your cue for a pause in your monologue. Did you get that? Neither is it for you to start thinking of how you would like to continue that awesome story of yours. Stop thinking me, myself, and I. Stop waiting for a chance to get a word in. Simply put, start listening and valuing more what your friend has to say. As cliche as it may sound, I do really like to think that the fact we have 2 ears and 1 mouth is because we should listen more. Sorry, but did that sound like a rant? You guessed. I’ve been a terrible victim. 10. A good listener remembers Last but not least, put in effort to remember what is being shared. Not to the extent that you can recall every single detail even after weeks. I’m talking about certain points being mentioned just 5 minutes ago. That makes your friend’s sharing session a really dreadful one, when he has to link and relate to information that somehow doesn’t sink in your wooden head. And for whatever information that stays with you after the conversation, have the maturity and sensitivity to treat what’s shared with confidentiality. Use your own discretion on this one.

Active listening really is an art form and a life skill. If you don’t already do it, please do so with your closest friends. They deserve it! And if you see the value in it and start practising it with others, you’ll find that meeting new people becomes super easy! In fact, it’s totally necessary for building quality relationships. ~Helping you become the best version of yourself~ Jeremy writes about everything Personal Growth at his blog, Jer’s Passageway. Do give his blog a visit, he would love to connect with you!

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