Are You a Good Listener?

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Good listening skills are an art, which means we strive to be alert, aware, and appropriate. We mine our skills by being creative and imaginative. Many find it easy to talk, especially when they have advice to give, a point to make, or simply want to be heard.

When we show others we are interested in what they have to say, that person feels valued. Listening doesn’t necessarily mean we agree or support the speaker, but it shows we care enough to listen. We’ve all encountered those who interrupt or dismiss what someone is saying. Do we want to be one of those people who is known for taking over every conversation and not respecting others?

We listen to others—

  • To better our understanding of a subject
  • To gain information
  • To get to know someone better
  • To show respect for the speaker and their knowledge or expertise
  • To show we are interested in the person and what they have to say

Good listening skills show we care and respect the speaker. So how do we develop the art?

  1. Eye Contact. Give the speaker your attention.
  2. Concentrate on listening.
  3. Use body language that shows we’re paying attention to the speaker.
  4. Respond to what the speaker is saying with suitable comments and questions.
  5. Learn about the person or people you’re meeting. This is a good practice for personal and professional situations.
  6. Practice listening.
  7. Compliment the speaker if appropriate. Be sincere.
  8. Be yourself. Our personalities have qualities that enable us to be friendly. When we fake interest, the listener knows.

Let’s help each other. What tips do you have to be a better listener?