Friday, April 20, 2012

How to be a Good Listener

Do you want to be a good listener?  Well, for starters, stop talking.  That much is obvious, I hope.  However, being a good listener is more than just hearing.

First, don’t be that guy who keeps taking over the story or correcting the other person with minor details.  In fact, try not to interrupt at all.  You can add your comments later.

Second, encourage the speaker to continue by nodding and saying things like ‘okay’, ‘I see’ and so on.  However, please don’t say it continuously.  Use sparingly, or it will sound like you’re not listening.  Also, encourage further explanation by asking for confirmation of certain things or questions about small things (but no aggressive questions).

Lastly, listen to what the person is saying and actually take it into consideration.  A lot of times, especially if the speaker is taking a side we disagree with, we tend to write off any information they’re saying out of prejudice.  In other words, listen to what the guy is saying and try to see it from his point of view before you compare it to your own views.

These three things are important even though they seem quite fundamental.  Sometimes you might have to interrupt to correct a huge error, especially if the speaker is already being aggressive (be it against you or someone else).  If you want to be a good listener, all you have to do is listen.

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