Lifestyle

Become An Effective Listener

become an effective listener

This being the fourth week in January, many people are making resolutions to improve their lives. One part of their lives some want to improve is their communication skills. I believe listening is the most important communication skill. And it’s the one I think many of us lack the most. Why? Because listening requires not only a person to pay attention, but to actually focus on the words and phrases. Think about the last time you were in a meeting. Did you actually listen to the person speaking? Yes…and no. I know I’ll listen for a bit, but when the subject becomes boring or there is a break in the conversation, I daydream. So how do you become an effective listener? Here’s some tips I enact every day.

Become An Effective Listener Step #1: Follow The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule is a principle found in many religions and cultures. In short, you want to treat people as you want to be treated.

Did you ever had a friend or family member not listen to your concerns or successes? I have. We all have. But go back and think about how you felt then. I bet you got upset. How dare they not listen to you. You always listen to them when they need someone to talk to. Later, sadness crept in. It probably ruin a nice portion of your day.

So you should have that recollection in the back of your mind when you listen to someone else. You don’t want to hurt them like you were in the past.

But remember, the Golden Rule doesn’t promise you fair and honest treatment all the time. Don’t get upset if you don’t get back what you put in.

Become An Effective Listener Step #2: Put Yourself In Their Shoes

To become an effective listener requires empathy. You need the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes.

I do this by understanding how the other person talking to me must feel. Even if I never been in their situation, I can still feel and understand their pain or happiness or confusion.

When I do this, I not only become an effective listener, but I can provide better advice, if needed. Because I’m making myself think: “What would I do in this situation?” and “How would I feel?”

This step requires practice, because you don’t want to offend the speaker by pandering to him or her.

Step #3: Allow Them To Vent

To become an effective listener sometimes requires you to sit there and allow the speaker to vent. A good rant helps the distressed person but it can be harrowing to sit through at times. Especially if the person is mad at you.

Just allow the speaker to just get it out. Don’t interrupt him or her unless the person asks for your opinion. I found from my various experiences with venting sessions people need to release various emotions, and then they’re fine.


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