Hearing somebody isn´t the same thing as listening to them. Truly listening to people you talk to is a win-win situation for both speaker and listener.
The people speaking appreciate you investing your time to truly understand what they are saying (you build meaningful connections) and you get to learn new things from everybody you talk to.
But how exactly do you actively listen? Most people never do, they´re always in their heads, thinking about their problems and the ideal thing to say next.
Keep on reading to discover 4 great ways that will make you become an exceptional listener easily:
Imagine the written words of what is being said
I often struggled with listening to somebody for over a minute because of my lack of being able to fully concentrate on what they´re saying. Whenever something catches my attention and I am truly interested in it, I think about it at all times. This of course, makes it difficult for me to actively listen to somebody.
A neat trick that helped me keeping my mind busy and focus on what the other person is saying is imagining the written words of what the other person is communicating. By forcing yourself to do so, it is practically impossible to think about other things at the same time. After all, our brain isn´t able to have two thoughts at once, we can only switch our attention form one thought to another.
Exceptional listeners manage to be one hundred percent in the moment. These people find it much easier to retain the information they receive. Remember the kid in your school who never took notes, barely studied and managed to get excellent grades?
Meditating is the best and fastest way to become present to the moment. You don´t have to meditate for 2 hours, even 5-10 minutes a day will greatly improve your presence. The key here is consistency.
Click here for an in depth guide on how to start meditating if you´re serious about becoming more present.
Ask the right questions
When asking questions, you can either ask open or close-ended questions. The difference between them is that open-ended questions require a more elaborate answer instead of “yes” or “no”.
By asking these questions you are encouraging the other person to keep on talking and showing true interest in what they have to say, which will make them open up to you and share things you otherwise would have missed.
Listen for the right reasons
Are you listening to the other person because you want to please them or because you´re truly interested in what they have to say?
People tend to be very good at noticing your true intentions. Think of when you started working at a new job. You met new people and some of them listened to what you have to say just to be polite.
You knew that deep down they didn´t care and the situation turned awkward. After working together for a couple of months, there is no need anymore to be polite and you barely interact with these people anymore.
When you´re really not interested in talking to someone, don´t fake interest. It´s better for both speaker and listener if you make up an excuse to go and end the conversation instead of pretending to listen.
Actively listening to people will improve your and other people´s lives greatly. We all want to feel important and there is no better way than somebody being interested in what we have to say.
You learn some of the most important things in life from people you never expected. Do you struggle with active listening? Do you have some tips on how to improve other people´s listening skills? I would love to LISTEN to what you have to say!