Most of us are good at talking and telling our stories, but when we want to make a lasting connection with other people, we need to take the time to become good listeners. We can learn so much about other people and how they interact with us if we can stop and listen to what they are saying and pay attention to some of their nonverbal cues as well.
According to Harvard Business Review, listening well is a skill that can help you through many areas of your life. By learning how to become a better listener, you will be able to interact with anyone and make lasting connections that will help you succeed. Some of the tips that you can use to become a better listener include:
Pay Attention to Nonverbal Cues
Active listening means that you need to pay attention not just to the verbal cues that the person is saying out loud, but also to the nonverbal cues. This will tell you so much more than the words from the other person. There are a ton of nonverbal cues that you can consider listening for including body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. You will be amazed at what this can tell you.
This one can feel a bit unnatural at first, but you will find that it helps you to process what the other person is saying and shows them that you are paying attention. You don’t need to repeat everything but repeat the last few words back when they are done talking. It can keep you on track, helps the other person feel important, and gives you a few seconds to gather your thoughts. There is no reason to put it into your own words; repeat the words exactly as they were said.
You should ask more questions than you think is necessary. This will help the other person feel like you are listening to them and trying to understand what they tell you. And it is a great way to make sure that you are not overlooking the details. It is unlikely that you will ask too many questions at any time, so keep asking them to show that you are paying attention.
Minimize the Distractions
It is really hard to pay attention to the other person if there are a ton of distractions going on around you. if you can’t focus in the room, maybe consider asking the other person to go to a new location so you can give them your full attention. Avoid interruptions, noise, and even your phone to make sure that you can give the other person as much attention as possible.
Don’t Rehearse What You Will Say
One of the biggest mistakes that people will make when it comes to listening is that they spend more time rehearsing what they will say, rather than just listening. They want to sound witty or get their important information out there and they end up missing out on key details that would help them get along with the other person better. This is something that you need to avoid.
Instead of rehearsing your responses, you should simply take a brief pause when the other person is done to compose your thoughts. You can think four times faster than the other person talks, so you will need to slow things down and learn to pay attention. Use that brainpower to stay focused so that you can take in as much information as possible, rather than focusing on something other than the person in the conversation.