How to Become a Better Listener?
The average person has an attention span of eight seconds. This negligible time frame causes people to zone out when holding a conversation. If you have ever caught yourself zoning out and not paying attention to the person in front of you, rest assured you are not alone. Nowadays, constant interference due to our mobiles has made communication more difficult.
Unlike popular belief, listening is not an automatic process. Everyone strives to be a good speaker. However, hardly anyone understands the importance of listening. Becoming a good listener takes time, effort, and unrelenting patience. A good listener cultivates his art through years of practice.
How to be a better listener
Listen to learn
People do not want to listen, but want to get their point across regardless. More often, people listen to each other because it is polite to do so. When in conversation with someone, be genuinely interested in what the person has to say. The conversation will be held on for longer if you are replying to them based on what they say.
Consciously better your listening habits
The best way to better your listening habit is to make a conscious effort to do so. Catch yourself if you find that you are stumbling over your words to speak. Other people have their personal views and opinions on matters. Listening to them will broaden your viewpoint and change your perspective on issues.
Asking questions indicates curiosity. If you do not understand what the person is saying, do not let them ramble on Stop them and ask them questions. You indicate your interest in not only the person but also their views. Asking questions is a surefire way to ensure that you listen to the answer, thus ensuring your participation. Additionally, asking questions shows that you have paid attention to the conversation.
Clarify important points
If someone is ranting to you with hopes of some advice, be sure that you have a clear picture of everything that is taking place. If you do not understand something, ask for clarification. Listening is easy when you can visualize the events taking place. You will be able to provide proper advice when you have a clear picture of what occurred.
Focus your attention towards the speaker
More often than not, you tend to zone out and start thinking about other matters. You could be thinking about a similar experience you had, constructing a response, or preparing to refute a point they made. Thinking about these things can make you lose out on the remainder of the person's statement. To listen to what a person is trying to convey, practice the art of hearing them without judging.
Remove all distractions
Identify why you have trouble listening to people. Trying to fix the source of your issue will help you pay attention to others. If you feel like your mobile distracts you during conversations, keep your phone in another room. If you have a tendency to speak and not listen, practice staying quiet for a few moments daily. A daily meditative session will ensure that you do not stray away from the person in front of you.
Often, people enter into a conversation only to get their point across. If you find yourself waiting for your turn to speak, rather than effectively listening to what the other person says, you may have an attention problem. Not everyone is a born listener. Taking control of your listening skills, however, is an art that can be perfected over a set period. Try to listen to people by following the steps above. It is difficult, but you can become an excellent conversationalist with proper practice and time.