8 Tips on How to Listen to Others

Listening is not a passive activity. It requires your attention so that you remain aware of the context of the topic and the other person talking feels comfortable in the process. Knowing how to listen can help you learn more about other people’s emotions, but this is no easy task. At 5-Minute Crafts, we want to share 8 tips on how to become a better listener with you.

1. Use your body language.

Body language is very important for communication. If you look open and relaxed, the other person will notice that you are involved in the conversation. Some points you can keep in mind are:

— Relax your body.

— Make frequent eye contact.

— Uncross your arms and legs.

— Nod as you listen.

2. Use moments of silence and pauses appropriately.

Use silence or pauses if you need a few seconds to offer a thoughtful response. The speaker will appreciate it if you take the time to consider what you are talking about. You can let him or her know that you are taking a moment to collect your thoughts. Not answering with the first thing that pops into your mind can help you provide a more rational response.

3. Avoid interrupting the conversation.

Interruptions can cause the person talking to you to divert their conversation. You can wait for a natural pause to discuss your concerns. Avoid asking off-topic questions, as this may be taken to mean that you’re not taking the conversation seriously and that your point of view is superior to what is being discussed.

4. Use empathetic phrases.

Some people talk to you to express their feelings. They are probably just looking to be heard, and them telling you these kinds of things shows that they feel confident. The best way to reciprocate is to validate your conversation partner’s emotions by using empathetic phrases. Some of these are:

— “I can imagine that must be painful.”
— “I can see how that makes you feel distressed.”
— “It sounds like a stressful situation.”

5. Give your full attention.

Nowadays, it is very common to do several activities at the same time in order to make the most of every minute. But when a person is talking to you, it is important that he/she feels that they have your attention. Try to show them that you’re interested. If you really can’t stop what you’re doing, tell the person that you’ll resume the conversation as soon as you’re free.

6. Try to listen without advising.

Let the other person vent, even if you feel they’re wrong about what they’re saying. Don’t give an opinion or pass judgment. If he or she asks for your advice, you can give your opinion, but the situation could become complex, as you may hurt his or her feelings. Remaining silent will help you put your opinions aside for a moment and focus on listening to the other person’s problem.

7. Ask questions during silences.

Try to avoid prolonged silences by asking questions when the conversation reaches natural pauses. If you keep your attention, you can ask interesting questions that keep pace with what is being said. This shows that there is interest on your part in listening, and the other person will be delighted. Avoid using questions that begin with “why,” as this can be interpreted as you being judgmental.

8. Reflect on what you’re hearing.

When the person has finished making a point, you can paraphrase what you’ve just heard. This way, he or she will feel that you have paid attention to the conversation. It’s not about repeating but reflecting on the topic. This will convey understanding and encourage further sharing.

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