How To Be a Good Listener In Communication: 20 Strategies

If you want to know how to be a good listener in communication, you’ll love this article.

Having the ability to listen attentively and effectively can offer a new perspective on the world by allowing you to comprehend the viewpoints of others. This ability can enhance your understanding and empathy towards others, and also enhance your communication skills, enabling you to connect better with people outside your usual circle.

Good listening skills provide you with deeper insights into a person’s situation and can guide you on the best way to express yourself. However, listening well, particularly during conflicts, requires sincere dedication and practice. If you’re looking to improve your listening skills, continue reading to learn more.

How To Be a Good Listener In Communication:

1 To be an active listener, it’s important to step out of your own thoughts and consider the other person’s perspective.

Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand why they feel a certain way. Engage in the conversation by making eye contact and showing that you care about what they’re saying, even if you don’t necessarily agree.

Listening more than you talk allows you to be more observant and gain a better understanding of things. Avoid multitasking or getting distracted, and focus entirely on the person speaking.

Rather than immediately judging or offering solutions, take the time to truly listen and understand the situation from their point of view. This approach will help you build deeper connections with others and avoid forming premature opinions.

2. Comparing someone else’s experiences to your own can be counterproductive when trying to listen effectively.

It can come across as insensitive or diminish the other person’s experience. Avoid using “I” or “me” too much as it can indicate that you are more focused on yourself than on the person speaking.

Instead, try to understand the situation from their perspective and offer support without making it about yourself. It’s okay to share your experiences if the person specifically asks for your opinion, but be cautious about drawing direct comparisons. This can make it seem like you’re trying to make the situation about yourself rather than truly listening to the other person.

3. Resist the urge to immediately offer solutions when someone is speaking to you.

Instead, take the time to absorb what the person is saying and really listen to their words. Only after fully understanding their perspective should you consider offering help, and only if they are actively seeking it. Trying to think of quick solutions can distract you from truly listening and understanding the person’s situation.

In addition, it’s important to limit distractions during conversations. In our modern world filled with constant noise and interruptions, it takes a conscious effort to focus solely on the person speaking and limit any potential distractions such as phones or televisions.

4. Demonstrate empathy.

Show the person that you care by actively engaging in the conversation, nodding at appropriate moments, and responding with small affirmations such as “Yeah” or “Wow” to show that you are listening and paying attention. It’s important to use these phrases at the appropriate times and in a soft tone so that you don’t come across as overbearing or interrupting.

If the person is in distress, try to appeal to your sensitive side and offer comfort, but be careful not to make the person feel pitied or as if you see yourself as superior. Instead, aim to connect with the person on a personal level and show that you understand and empathize with their feelings.

5. An essential part of being a good listener is to take in and retain the information that the speaker is conveying to you.

If someone is sharing their problems with you, it’s important to remember their name, important events, and details so you can refer to them later in conversation. This will demonstrate that you were paying attention and are engaged with the discussion.

It’s okay if you don’t have perfect memory, but if you constantly have to ask for clarification or forget important details, it can make the speaker feel like you aren’t really listening to them. While you don’t need to remember every little thing, it’s important to show that you were actively listening by retaining some key information.

SEE ALSO: How To Be Honest With Someone: 15 Practical Strategies

6. To be a good listener, it’s important to follow up with the person after the conversation ends.

Simply listening and forgetting about it will not show that you genuinely care. You can ask the person about the situation the next time you see them, or send a text or make a phone call to check on their progress. This gesture can be especially meaningful if the person is dealing with a serious issue such as a divorce, job search, or health complication.

However, if the person doesn’t want to follow up, it’s important to respect their decision and let them know that you are still there to support them. It’s important to strike a balance between following up and nagging, as excessive reminders can create unnecessary pressure and stress.

7. Knowing what not to do is also important when you want to be a good listener.

Interrupting the speaker in the middle of their point is not helpful and can come across as disrespectful. Instead, it’s better to wait for pauses to ask gentle questions. It’s also not a good idea to try to change the subject, even if it’s uncomfortable, as this can make the speaker feel like you’re not interested in what they’re saying.

Avoid using dismissive phrases like “It’s not the end of the world” or “You’ll feel better in the morning” as it belittles their problems. Lastly, maintain eye contact with the person to show that you are interested and listening attentively.

8. It may seem cliché, but one of the main challenges to being a good listener is controlling the urge to immediately share your own thoughts or experiences.

Although it can be beneficial to provide personal anecdotes or show empathy, these responses are often used too frequently and can become unhelpful. To truly listen, it’s important to set aside your own needs and allow the speaker to share their thoughts at their own pace and in their own manner. This requires patience and a willingness to simply be present for the other person.

9. Establish trust and confidentiality when someone is confiding in you.

Let the person know that they can trust you and that whatever they say will remain between the two of you. It’s essential not to force anyone to open up as this can make them feel uncomfortable or angry.

It’s crucial to keep your promise and not share their private information unless there are certain circumstances like if the person is at risk of harming themselves or others. Breaking trust will ruin your credibility as a good listener.

10. When you do speak, it’s important to use empathetic language to show the speaker that you’re listening.

One way to do this is to repeat and encourage some of the things the speaker has said, while providing positive feedback as encouragement. Another effective technique is to summarize and restate what the speaker has said in your own words. This lets the speaker know that you truly understand and have been listening attentively.

It’s also helpful to leave the door open for corrections or clarifications with statements like “I may be wrong, but…” or “…Correct me if I am wrong.” Be careful not to overdo these techniques as it can come across as patronizing.

SEE ALSO: How To Deal With Know It All Person: 15-Step Guide

11. Ask thoughtful and empowering questions to help the speaker come to their own conclusions about the issues being discussed.

Avoid probing or making the person feel defensive. Instead, reframe your questions in a way that encourages the person to respond directly and move from a more emotional response to a more constructive and logical response.

For instance, if the person expresses discomfort with taking the blame, you might say, “I understand that you didn’t enjoy having to take the blame, but could you help me understand why you feel blamed instead of just being asked to do something differently?” This approach allows the speaker to reflect on their thoughts and feelings without feeling judged or pressured.

12. To be an effective listener, it’s important to be patient and wait for the speaker to open up.

This means allowing them to express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas in their own time, without interrupting or asking too many personal questions too soon. Rushing the process can make the speaker feel defensive (1) and hesitant to share more information.

As a listener, it’s helpful to put yourself in the speaker’s shoes and try to understand why they may be struggling or hesitant to open up. By showing empathy and patience, you can create a safe and supportive environment for the speaker to share their thoughts and feelings.

13. Resist the urge to interrupt the speaker with your own thoughts or opinions.

Instead, patiently wait for appropriate breaks in the conversation before providing a summary or empathetic agreement. Interrupting too soon can be frustrating for the speaker and disrupt their flow of thought.

Avoid giving direct advice unless it’s specifically requested, as it’s more empowering for the individual to talk through the situation and come to their own conclusions. This approach is more likely to result in positive change and greater self-understanding for both the speaker and the listener.

14. Provide reassurance to the speaker at the end of the conversation.

Let them know that you are glad to have listened and supported them. Also, convey that you are willing to have further discussions if they need it, but you will not force them.

Ensure that the speaker understands that the conversation is confidential. In case the speaker is going through a tough time and expressing optimism seems inappropriate, you can still offer reassurance by saying that you are available to listen and help.

You can also offer assistance with potential solutions if you have the necessary skills, time, and resources. However, don’t give false hopes or promises.

If your only contribution can be active listening, make that clear, as it can still be incredibly valuable. Finally, be mindful of appropriate touch, and do not cross any boundaries.

15. When offering advice, it’s important to stay neutral and not let your own experiences overly influence your suggestions.

Instead, consider what would be best for the person in question, even if it’s not exactly what you did in a similar situation. While your experiences may be helpful, keep in mind that everyone’s circumstances and needs are different.

SEE ALSO: How To Manage Conflict Effectively: 20 Essential Ways

16. Maintaining eye contact is crucial when you are trying to be a good listener.

It conveys your interest and attention to the person speaking and encourages them to continue talking. Directly focus on their eyes to show that you are actively listening to every word they say, even if the subject matter is not particularly interesting to you.

It’s important to avoid distractions and not let your mind wander or think about what you want to say next. Instead, concentrate on the person in front of you and their words, as it is about them, not you.

17. Create an environment that is conducive to conversation.

This means removing all distractions and giving your full attention to the person who is speaking to you. Find a quiet and private place where you won’t be interrupted by phones, people or other noises.

Once you’re in a conducive space, clear your mind of any distractions and give your full attention to the speaker. Show them that you are attentive and present. If you’re meeting in a public place, try to avoid sitting near any distractions such as televisions or loud music that might tempt you to divert your attention away from the speaker.

18. To encourage the speaker, use body language that shows you are engaged and interested in what they are saying.

This can include nodding your head to show that you understand and want them to continue speaking. Mirroring their body posture (2), positions, and movements can also help them feel more relaxed and open.

Maintaining eye contact is another important aspect of active listening, as it shows that you are interested in what they have to say. Avoid crossing your arms, as this can create a closed-off or skeptical impression. Instead, turn your body toward the speaker and avoid any movements that might suggest you are not fully present in the conversation.

19. To actively listen means to engage your whole body and face, as well as show that you’re paying attention to the speaker.

While you don’t need to interject every few seconds with phrases like “mmhmm” or “I see,” you can offer encouraging words to show you’re listening and want to help. Maintain eye contact with the speaker and show interest in what they are saying without overwhelming them with intense stares.

Look for cues beyond just the words being spoken, such as facial expressions and body language, to better understand the speaker’s emotions and thoughts. Try to match the energy level of the speaker in your responses, so they know you’re hearing and comprehending what they’re saying.

20. Be patient when someone is opening up to you and not expect them to immediately spill all their thoughts and feelings.

Just listen attentively without offering any advice or trying to rush the conversation. To avoid any confusion or misinterpretation, it’s helpful to repeat back to them what they’ve said to make sure you fully understand their message.

It’s also important to consider their circumstances and be mindful of their sensitivity. For instance, if they seem like a sensitive person, avoid giving them “tough love” and instead offer empathy and understanding.

In summary, being a good listener requires a combination of active participation, appropriate body language, and empathetic consideration of the speaker’s situation. Some of the key tips include removing distractions, making eye contact, and using encouraging body language such as nodding and turning towards the speaker.

It’s also important to actively listen, which involves repeating what the speaker said to confirm understanding, and to avoid giving unsolicited advice. Additionally, it’s important to be patient and considerate of the speaker’s circumstances and emotions, and to avoid being judgmental or imposing one’s own experiences on the conversation.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to be a good listener in communication. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here