One of the best things we can do in life is to listen. It doesn’t seem like it’s a hard thing to do, but it is for so many people. I’m sharing 5 Ways to Listen Better today because I know this can help you at home, in relationships, at work and in school, too.
5 Ways to Listen Better
When it comes to listening, it’s something that people either do well or not. I feel like there’s no in-between. When you’re listening intently to someone, your focus and attention is solely on them. How many times have we talked to our husbands or kids and we KNOW they’re not listening.
It’s maddening when you’re the one talking and you know that nobody is listening. And truth be told, I know it’s tough when people just genuinely have a tough time focusing to listen to someone. It goes both ways, so I really thought it was important to share 5 ways to listen better.
I’m only going to share 5 Ways to Listen Better today in this post because I feel like if you can do at least ONE of these, you’re ahead of the game and on your way! If you’re able to take in all 5 and make them happen – even better! I think it’s just great that you want to try to enhance your listening skills.
5 Ways to Listen Better
These aren’t in any particular order for you!
1. Make Solid Eye Contact
One of the best ways to listen better is to physically connect with someone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to my kids when I’m talking to them, “Look at me!” When yours eyes are connected, you have a better chance and listening better.
Why is that? When you’re watching someone talk through something, even if it’s something heavy in school or challenging at work, you’re able to be connected to them on a different level because they can see YOU and you can see THEM.
Think back to when you were in school and your teacher was explaining a different concept. When you were listening and actually watching her/him talk through the problem, it was probably easier for you to understand. If you were looking down and then up and just not watching them, you probably had a difficult time understanding the problem.
2. Don’t Respond Until the Person is Done Speaking
Another way to make sure you listen better is not quiet your mind and just take in what the person is saying. Do not even think about speaking or joining into the conversation until you see the person is done talking.
Many times when someone is speaking, we’re sitting there just waiting to jump in and respond. You become a better listener when you go into a conversation or discussion knowing that you won’t respond until they’re done.
3. Quiet Any and All Interruptions to Listen Better
This is probably one of my favorite tips for 5 Ways to Listen Better! Turn everything off and just be in the moment with whomever you’re listening to. How many times have we said to our kids, “Put the phone down and listen to me!” This is a distraction that will prevent listening ears.
I know that when I’m listening to someone speak, everything needs to be turned off around me. If the kids are too loud, it’s distracting. If phones are ringing, it’s distracting. It’s imperative in when you’re trying to listen to someone to do the best you can to quiet ALL distractions and interruptions.
Turn the phones off. Have the kids in another room. Have TVs turned low or off. Do whatever you need to do to quiet and turn off/down the distractions around you. It’s important to make sure you do this so you can be 100% present in the conversation to listen.
4. Take Notes While Listening
Another way in which you can be a better listener is to take notes of the conversation or discussion. Think back to school or to work right now. When we’re taking notes and really understanding the conversation, we’re better listeners.
When I’m on the phone with clients, I’m always taking notes. It allows me to hone in on the conversation better because I’m aware of what they’re saying by taking notes throughout the talk. It’s a good way to keep yourself in the conversation and not be side tracked.
5. Ask Questions
One of the best listeners I’ve ever seen is Hoda Kotb. Watch her interview someone. She’s amazing. She hones in on them. She asks questions that are relatable to the conversation, so you know she’s listening.
I’m on the news quite a bit here for work and it’s ALWAYS so apparent when a newscaster isn’t listening because their questions have nothing to do with the answer just given. It’s almost like they just have their notes in their head and that’s what they’re going off of. Hoda is the opposite.
When you’re asking questions related to the topic at hand, you have to be listening. You need to be keyed into the conversation and/or discussion because you know what’s being said because you’re part of the conversation. My advice is to ask questions because it’s so easy to listen as they go along.
I hope these 5 Ways to Listen Better help YOU OUT! I know listening isn’t always easy, but I will say this – it’s essential. The best listeners in life are some of the most successful people I know.
Love for you to share with me what YOU DO to be a better listener.