10 Skills of a Good Listener

Good listening skills are the basis of good communication.

  1. Why should I listen to you? 
    You will gain value out of what is being said.  Pay attention when another is talking for worthwhile ideas that you may be able to use for yourself.  A great way to remember what the speaker is saying is by identifying ways to relate what they do to what you do or to things you already know something about.  To increase your memories of their message find common areas of interest between yourself and the speaker.
  2. What is being said not tone of voice is important?
    Some voices are boring, some are fast, and others are gratingly squeaky.  Learn not to let the speaker’s voice prevent you from listening to the actual message.  Many people are not very good at getting their ideas across.  Focus on the content of what is said rather than on the style or delivery with which it is said and you become a good listener.
  3. You have two ears and one mouth. So listen more and talk less. 
    Active listening means letting the speaker finish speaking.  Do not interrupt and put your two cents in because that is all it is worth.  It is also rude behavior to interrupt.  By letting the speaker finish then you know all the information and can speak.
  4. What are they saying? Expect the unexpected. 
    Most people just speak and are not organized so there is no logical sequence.  You may assume they are saying one thing and a totally different outcome takes place.  This is where many jokes come from and generally you do not want to laugh at them.  So listen to what is actually being said.
  5. Show your interest in them.
    Use your body language and eye contact with the speaker.  You can smile, shake your head, use your facial expressions; showing your interest in what they are saying.  You may be surprised at what you learn by keeping your mind open.
  6. Turn off distractions.
    Turn off your phone, the beeping on your computer, and for me the air conditioner, close the door, helps you be a good listener.  Removing the distractions helps but if you can’t; learns to ignore them and focus on the speaker and their ideas.
  7. Be aware of your judgments.
    We all have our likes and dislikes.  We are comfortable discussing certain topics and not so much other ones.  Take care not to tune out when a speaker touches on a sensitive area.   Again be open to new viewpoints and ideas.  You then become a great listener in all areas of life.
  8. Would you mind clarifying?
    When not understanding what is being said ask them to clarify it.  Be respectful in how you ask so that you invite the person to expand the information and it shows you are listening.
  9. Take notes.
    You will remember more of what is said especially if the material is complex or detail oriented.  Some people find this irritating so ask politely if you can do so.  Most people will think you are interested in them and you also become a better listener by having the information at hand.
  10. Rephrase what is said.
    This shows you have understood the speaker correctly.  After rephrasing, ask if you got the message correctly.  Don’t add your two cents worth as you want to show you really listened to their whole message.