There is a reason why psychologists call it “active listening.”
Good and effective listening requires us to be fully engaged and fully present. And people can usually tell when the other person is really paying attention or is only faking it (… unless they, too, are not paying attention to their listener).
When we fail to listen effectively, we risk hurting the other person and we miss out on a relationship-building opportunity. I dont know about you… but that does not sound good at all.
So below are 3 easy but effective ways to be a better listener which you can put into practice today! (Trust me, the people around you will appreciate you for it)
1. Listen with your whole body
Listening does not only involve the ears. It involves listening with every body part you’ve got (okay, I exaggerate… but you get the point).
Imagine talking to someone who’s on their phone and facing the other way. Even if they could hear every word you’re saying, it wouldn’t feel like much of a conversation, would it?
Listening with your whole body means that…
- Your eyes are on them. Not on your phone, not scanning your surroundings. On them! On the person you’re talking to.
- Your facial expressions match the mood of the person you’re talking to. Whether they’re happy, sad, upset, excited, your facial expressions should reflect that same mood. They’ll feel more connected to you.
- Your arms are uncrossed. Crossed-arms convey subconsciously that you’re defensive or reserved. It does not communicate openness or receptivity very well.
- You’re slightly leaning towards them. This tells the other person that you’re interested and enthusiastic about what they’re saying.
2. Give little affirmatives
“Mhmm… Right… Yeah, absolutely… that’s funny…”
Let them know that you’re following every word they’re saying through little affirmatives. These small approvals encourage the person sharing to keep on going.
A word of caution, though: Some people pretend to listen by using small affirmatives but are not really paying attention. They think that the other person won’t notice their lack of attention just because they’re responding with “yeah, yeah… right, right, right… gotcha.”
Yeah, that’s a no. People can usually spot fake listening, especially at close proximity. So when you’re doing this, it’s important that you’re also giving the person your full attention and listening with your whole body.
3. Ask relevant and well-timed questions
What better way to show you’re listening than through relevant and well-timed questions?
You can’t fake this one. You can fake the body language. You can fake the small affirmatives. But not this one. Because if you’re not paying attention, you wont be able to ask the right questions or even ask any at all.
So this is one of the best ways you can really show the other person that you’re listening to what they’re saying.
Here’s the gist…
Good listening requires active participation and conscious effort. These are 3 ways you can improve your listening and make the people you talk to feel important and understood:
- Listen with your whole body
- Give little affirmatives
- Ask relevant and well-timed questions
Apply these easy yet effective listening habits consistently as you engage with people and you will build habits that will help you communicate better.
That’s it for this article. Thank you for reading and I hope you got the gist!