Today, I’ve been thinking about listening skills. It is so easy, especially when you consider yourself to be a friendly/sociable person, to ‘steamroll’ conversations, never really giving people the chance to speak or respond to things you say, and not notice that you actually do these things.
It is equally easy for you to be the person on the receiving end of such ‘rantings’ and not actually be listening to what the speaker is really saying – their actual words and the underlying things they may be referring to but not expressing overtly.
Signs that you may be a bad listener
- When people talk to you, do you let them finish their thoughts or do you interrupt? Or talk over them?
- Are you quick to give an opinion before hearing the full story?
- Do you change the topic without addressing anything said? Or find a way to relate what was said back to your own experiences?
- What do your friends talk about around you? inconsequential things?
Yep, if you can relate to any of the above things, you just might be a bad listener.
Remember relationships are a two-way street! You have to learn to be a good communicator as this builds relationships.
3 Tips to fix it
1. Commit to talking less and paying more attention
Start training yourself by committing to talking less when in social settings and really listening to the conversations around you
- Show that you are actually paying attention by addressing certain things said during the conversation
- Ask clarifying questions during pauses, if necessary
- Make encouraging remarks to enable them continue
- Be emotive/empathic during the dialogue to show you are engaged in what’s being said
- Maintain eye contact
- Keep an open mind
2. Stop giving unsolicited advice especially if the person clearly didn’t ask for one
- Sometimes people just want to vent, so let them! save your sage advice for another time 😉
- You’d find that a lot of the time people already know the answer to the things they tell you but just want a sounding board
3. Don’t always wait on people to call you or reach out to you, sometimes reach out yourself
If people have typically always reached out to you to ask how things are with you, perhaps practice returning the favour by setting aside time to call your loved ones or check in with them.
Just like it makes you happy when people check in with you, others like it too! they want to feel like they matter to you and are in your thoughts 🙂
So, when you reach out to them;
- Make the conversations about them, about their problems/concerns
- Don’t jump in to talk about yourself or your issues or change the topic (even if it’s heavy)
Let’s start working on our relationships and ourselves
Do better! Be better