How To Be A Better Listener

How To Be A Better Listener


Somewhere along the way you’ve probably heard those familiar words, “You’re not listening to me.” Even though you may have heard what the person said, your mind may have been wandering thinking about all the things you had to do that day.

When people talk, they expect you to not only hear their words but actually process them as well. In this way, listening is an active process that needs to be consciously developed.

To be a good listener, it’s also important to convey to your speaker through gestures and body language that you acknowledge what they’re saying.

If want to be a better listener, here are some ways to develop your listening skills:

Stop what you’re doing when someone’s talking

If you’re cleaning the kitchen and your spouse or child has something to tell you, put down your cleaning tools and focus on what the other person is saying. Even if you can listen and work at the same time, you’ll give  the other person the impression that what they’re saying is not important if you can’t pause for a moment to address their concerns.

Use positive gestures

When you’re listening to another person always establish eye contact. Few people feel comfortable relaying information to a person who’s looking in every direction. As the person speaks, use positive gestures such as nodding your head to acknowledge what the person is saying and to prompt them to continue to talk.

When a person speaks to you they are unconsciously watching you for signs of boredom or rejection. Always use good eye contact, nods, and occasional smiles to show your interest.

Paraphrase the speaker’s thoughts

One way to show you’re listening and to make sure you understand what is being said is to repeat the speaker’s thoughts in your own words. This lets the other person know you’re actively processing the information and allows you to get a better understanding of what the speaker is trying to say.

Ask the speaker if your interpretation is correct to make sure you’re both communicating along the same lines.

Avoid interrupting

This is one of the most annoying characteristics of poor listeners. If you interrupt the speaker to give your response, you cut off his train of thought and you may miss important information. Plus, you’ll end up intimidating and even irritating your speaker. If you have a habit of interrupting, make it a point to hold your thoughts until there is a period of silence or until your opinion is asked.

Don’t rush to judgment

It’s important to keep an open mind about what the other person is saying. Try to put aside your own person prejudices and listen to the person’s ideas from a fresh perspective. Preconceived ideas on the part of a listener destroy the natural flow of thoughts and ideas. By keeping an open mind, you may just find a creative new approach to an old problem.


When you listen better, you’ll find your relationships improving both in your personal life as well as your work and business life. People will readily come to you with their thoughts and ideas.

Everyone appreciates a good listener!