Most of us are bad listeners. In fact, if you consider yourself a good listener, then you might exhibit some of the traits of a bad listener. Hear us out – if you listen to anything this month, let it be our guide to truly being all-ears.
People Who Ask For Advice Rarely Want Advice
People who need a listener will often engage you by asking for your opinion. Most of the time, what people really want to do is talk through their problem, but asking for your counsel sounds way better than asking you to become an emotional backboard. When you fail to recognize that, and begin to launch into our own opinions, the confidant may feel that you perceive them as incapable of solving their own problem. Instead, help your friend work their problem through and offer your opinion on the small decisions as they come up in the convo, instead of an
Listening Is The Easy Part
When listening, keep in mind your body language. If you’re on your phone, fidgeting, straightening the coffee table in front of you, anything but focusing on them, a friend can take this as you being not really interested. Recognizing when someone needs some undivided support is key to being a good listener when it matters most.
Mind readers Never Impress
When a listener tries to infer unspoken meanings and motives from their friend, what is an attempt to really dig deep and think about another’s problem becomes a shot in the dark that tells your friend that you may have spent the conversation thinking about what you were going to say rather than listening.
Here are three quick and easy steps to improve your listening skills:
- After they are done talking, take a pause before you begin. It will help the person feel as if you heard them, and are genuinely thinking about what they said (as you should be)
- Say their problems back to them in a quick summary. It will help them to gain perspective on their problems, and make them feel heard.
- Rather than stating an opinion, ask questions to clarify what is being said. This helps your friend to work through their problem. Only after you’ve done this, should you offer an opinion.