How to be a Good Listener

Communication goes both ways, so you should be capable of being both a good listener and a good talker. Talking is often easier for people, as they normally want to voice their opinions and expressions every time. Listening, on the other hand, is essential for better understanding about how to react and respond. If you find yourself struggling to become a better listener, there are tactics you can employ to improve your listening skills.


  • Position yourself. Make sure you are in a position ready for a conversation that will require you to listen. If you are reading the paper or watching TV, stop. It is also helpful to find a quiet place away from any distractions and interruptions.

  • Maintain privacy. Close any doors through which someone could enter. You can also keep the phones in the room (including your cellular phone) on silent mode to help avoid distractions during the course of the conversation.
  • Clear your mind. Set in your mind that you need to listen. This person needs to tell you something and needs you to listen right now. Avoid being distracted by thinking about other things.
  • Notice the other person’s body language. You can get a lot of messages from body language. Is the person with whom you are talking slouching? Seated away from you? Has his arms crossed? His shoulders down? Try to decipher his emotions and ask why he feels that way.
  • Notice the tone of the person’s voice. Is it high pitched? She might be angry. Is it low and soft? She might be feeling sad or depressed. Again, ask what the problem is.
  • Do not interrupt. Allow the speaker to finish talking before making any remarks; otherwise, he might think you are rude. It is better to let him finish so you get a complete understanding of the situation or the story.
  • Before responding, take into consideration the other person’s personality. You can respond more effectively if you also base your opinions on the way the other person will react.
  • Determine what she wants from you. Does the speaker seek your advice? Does she want you to just listen and provide sympathy? In determining this, you will be a more efficient listener and will cater more to the needs of the other person.
  • Do not give unsolicited advice or opinion. If he asks for it, then you can voice what you think. If the speaker doesn’t ask for advice or insight, then it is best to keep those ideas to yourself. A speaker usually just wants someone to listen.
  • Respond. Encourage the person and try to help her see the brighter side. You can say “I see” or “You can tell me anything” to reassure the speaker you are listening.

Filed Under: Lifestyle & Personality


About the Author: Alan Kennon lives a very happy life with two kids and a lovely wife. He likes to share his life time experiences with others about how they can improve their lifestyle and personality.

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