Possibilities Unlimited

How to Be an Effective Listener

WholeLife Matrix: Personal Awareness / Self / Psychological Awareness

“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.”
— Larry King

We often spend more time talking than listening, but making enough time to listen effectively to others is a key part of good communication that everyone should learn and utilize.  And when you learn to interpret body language, tone, and how to read between the lines, you will get a lot more out of each conversation. We offer some tips for effective listening.

The first step to good listening is to eliminate distractions such as phones or television.  If you are in a noisy place, try to step away to a more quiet area so that you can better hear the other person.  If you are wearing sunglasses, take them off so that the other person can see who they are talking to and see facial expressions.  Our facial expressions provide many no-verbal cues. It is also important to have eye contact. 

Let the speaker know that you are fully engaged and interested in what they have to say.  You can do this by maintaining your focus on them and not being distracted by other people who may be around or other things you might want to do.  To indicate that you are paying attention, you might also respond with phrases such as “Right”, “Yes”, or “I understand.”  These phrases are especially important when you are speaking to someone on the phone and they can’t see you.    

Focus on the other person and ask good questions.  Often, people don’t know where to start when asking questions or how to continue a conversation once a couple of sentences have been exchanged.  To think of good questions to ask, think about questions that answer Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.  For example, if you are at an event and you are speaking with someone, you might ask questions such as:

Who told you about the event?
What does your business do?
When did you arrive?
Where is your business located?
Why are you at this event?
How might we work together?

Showing genuine interest in other people is what will make you likable to them and wanting to spend time with you – whether for friendship or for business relationships.  You can show genuine interest by being patient and not interrupting when someone is talking and not rushing the conversation.  Be open-minded and maintain confidentiality to build trust and understanding. Finding areas you agree on to establish a common ground is also important.

Continuing to grow your psychological awareness through listening and other areas will also help you to accomplish goals in your life and become more fulfilled.  In the WholeLife Matrix, psychological awareness includes:

1. Introspection

2. Understanding

3. Acceptance

4. Resolution

 


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October 3, 2015

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