Most of what makes a good talker is being a good listener. But many of us are more interested in making sure our opinion is heard rather than taking the time to listen to other people.
Listening takes more than just not talking
It’s important to listen actively, and think about everything we’re hearing so that we can better understand what people are trying to tell us.
Listening is an empathetic exercise
We need to spend our time trying to put ourselves in other people’s shoes as we listen. This allows us to better understand what it is people are trying to tell us.
If something confuses you, or seems interesting, ask
These moments when you want to know more are important to take advantage of. Asking demonstrates to people that we are involved in what they’re saying. Try to wait for a natural break in conversation, but don’t wait too long or the person may have moved onto another topic.
Use more statements than questions
If we only ask questions, the conversation will feel like an investigation. Instead, we should try to make statements about how what we’re hearing makes us feel. These statements demonstrate interest and prompt the person to keep talking.
Occasionally you will need to talk
Listening requires a conversation, and conversations are two-sided. To keep people talking we need to occasionally offer our own experiences and opinions. This is not an opportunity for a contest. Do not try to out-sad someone who’s telling a sad story. Don’t compete. Instead, show that you can relate by talking about something similar to what they’re saying then see how they react.
Listening is a really important skill
It lets us learn about a wide range of topics without having to live the experiences or do the research ourselves. Good listeners are good learners and learning is key to everything.
In case you want to learn more about these and other listening tactics, come talk to us.