Try talking to any psychologist in the West Island of Montreal and it’s highly likely that you’ll notice they have one thing in common: they are all good listeners. They listen in order to be effective in what they do. Psychologists listen to their patients in order to help understand their problems and be able to provide the right treatment and therapy.
But, you do not need to be a psychologist to become a good listener. If you want to help out someone and you think that you can be a better person if you are a good listener, here are some of the things that you need to remember:
- Be present. When you are talking to someone, you need to stay in the moment and not let your mind wander off. You should not be on your phone or be multi-tasking because listening while doing other things means you’re not really listening. You can only listen when you are focused on the person speaking.
- Be attentive. Aside from being present, you also need to be attentive by maintaining eye contact with the other person. Watch for visual cues and make verbal gestures of agreement from time to time.
- Be patient. Patience is important if you want to be a good listener because not everyone you talk to will be interesting. Sometimes, the other person may have difficulty expressing himself. Sometimes, he may bore you with his ramblings. But, you need to move past all that and just keep your ears, mind and eyes open.
- Be open-minded. Listen to the other person without any preconceptions and self-righteousness in your head. You should be able to accept another person’s point of view without being judgmental about it.
- Be inquisitive. Good listeners do not just listen. They also ask questions to encourage the other person to speak out more. You can be a good listener by asking follow up questions or by simply saying “tell me more about that.”It makes the other person feel your interest and your genuineness.
- Do not be defensive. In case the other person says something that pushes your buttons, do not react defensively. Maintain open channels of communication and still listen to what the other person is trying to say.
- Have a positive body language. Being a good listener is not just about being there physically and lending your ears to the other person. You also need to make sure that you have good eye contact and an open body stance. You should be facing the other person so that he can see when you nod and smile to show that you are attentively listening.
- Show empathy. You need to have the ability to understand and share in the other person’s feelings. Listening is one of the ways that you can be emphathetic, so you need to truly listen and put aside your viewpoint first.
- Provide feedback. To show that you are really listening, repeat some important points that the other person has told you using your own words. This can make the other person feel that you heard what he was saying and that you are doing your best to understand.
- Be authentic. Most importantly, you need to be sincere and genuine in your desire to be a good listener. The other person will be able to feel your sincerity in offering your ears through both your verbal and non-verbal gestures. If you are authentic, all the other points that were discussed will be very easy for you.
Being a good listener is a great characteristic as people will find joy just by speaking to you. You may need to practice to develop this skill, but if you really want to listen, simply do it from your heart and everything else will follow.