Are you a good listener? 15 tips for active listening.

You can win more friends with your ears than you can with your mouth
Are You A Good Listener?

Active listening

 

Most people appreciate a good listener, but most prefer to speak for themselves rather than listen. Active listening can be easy, the article tells you how.

Overview

To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.

François de La Rochefoucauld

Listen closely

 

Hearing more than talking – that’s what nature teaches us:
It gave us two ears, but only one tongue.

Gottfried Keller

 

Being a good listener can help you to see the world through the eyes of others. It enriches your understanding and expands your capacity for empathy. Listening increases your contact with the outside world by helping you improve your communication skills.

 

What do you think about the next saying?

You can win more friends with your ears than you can with your mouth.

 

 

 

Listening leads to insights

 

Good listening skills can provide you with a deeper level of understanding about others and their situation. It helps you to choose your communication style. It tells you what words are best to use or which words to avoid.

 

 

 

Hearing isn’t enough

 

Being a good listener does not come easy for some of us. Listening is not the same as hearing. It means being aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages. Your ability to listen effectively depends on the degree to which you perceive and understand these messages. And it massively depends on the ability to build rapport.

 

 

 

Active listening

 

Most people appreciate a good listener. But in practice, most people prefer to speak for themselves rather than listen to others. It is probably not so easy for everyone to listen to other people. But it is worthwhile to pay honest attention to those you are talking to.

Active listening does not turn anyone into a passive person who patiently follows endless explanations without ever getting a chance to speak for himself. Active listening helps to improve communication in general and to make one’s messages heard. Genuine listening is the best way to gain trust and sympathy and to build relationships.

15 tips for active listening

 

The art of conversation lies in listening and here is how:

 

 

1. Pay attention to your mental state

 

If the state of mind is too agitated, listening won’t work. So, first, make sure that they are mentally ready.

 

 

 

2. Read between the lines

 

A large part of communication is non-verbal. Keep an eye on the body language of your interlocutor. While you are listening, your brain only needs a small part of its capacity. The rest is free to formulate an answer and listen better.

 

 

 

3. Pay attention to your body language

 

Especially less good and impatient listeners are often too busy to speak. And then it easily happens that the body language communicates something different than intended. There is a restless sliding back and forth on the chair, arms or legs crossed, clearing the throat. It is precisely the signals of impatience that do not encourage us to continue talking but interrupt thoughts that otherwise take place.

 

 

 

4. Avoid distractions

 

You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time. It helps to put the smartphone aside, to turn it off quietly to be completely attentive. Choosing a suitable environment also makes it easier for everyone involved to concentrate.

 

 

 

5. Never interrupt

 

One of the most sincere forms of respect is listening to what another has to say. The interruption of the interlocutor or even the completion of his sentences is disrespectful.

 

 

 

6. Ask questions

 

It makes sense to ask reflective questions not only to check whether you have understood everything correctly. Asking questions helps to formulate questions and answers in a more targeted way. It is therefore worth asking questions in between.

 

 

 

7. Consider the body language of the interlocutor

 

Pay attention to the body language of your counterpart. Register micro gestures or other clues such as nervous bouncing of the foot under the table. In some situations, you can even respond to your observations. If you do this cautiously, the person you are talking to will be more likely to open up, because they will feel taken seriously and you will enjoy more trust.

 

 

 

8. Keep eye contact

 

With your eye contact, you signal interest and that you are with the thing.

 

 

 

9. Avoid justification

 

Even experienced listeners run the risk of switching off as soon as their ideas and convictions are questioned or criticized. In this situation, cross-pollinating and formulating justifiable answers instead of listening misses information, insight, and the chance to defuse emerging conflicts.

 

 

 

10. Rephrasing

 

Elegant paraphrasing is the perfect way to solve problems or make plans. Estimate what your conversation partner thinks or feels and briefly summarize what has already been saying. Show empathy.

 

 

 

11. Taking breaks

 

Take a break. For example, to absorb what has been said and think about it. You will appear more deliberate and give better answers later.

Who makes a short break before answers, makes it easier for the interlocutor to add something to his statement. Before each answer, count up to four in your head until you automatically take the breaks.

 

 

 

12. Don’t be a know-it-all

 

A good listener is interested in long-term and viable solutions, rather than quick effects that only flatter his ego. Avoid advice, especially unsolicited advice. Everything else is latently intrusive and as if you were a know-it-all.

 

 

 

13. Enjoy the silence

 

If you make listening and observation of your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talking. Listen longer than you talk. People who practice this are perceived as more intelligent and sympathetic.

 

 

 

14. Hearing what isn’t said

 

One of the most interesting in communication is hearing what isn’t said.

 

 

 

15. Practice, practice, practice

 

As simple as listening may seem, doing it well, takes sincere effort and lots of practice. Do you want to be someone that others want to talk to? If you want to know how to be a good listener, learn more about it.

Preparation of important conversations and negotiations

 

Communication can be very easy. But often it is not. Sometimes we say things and then later notice from the reaction of our conversation partners that they seem to have spoken to someone completely different. I didn't say that with the best will in the world. - Or did I say that after all?

More or less consciously, conversations are about convincing other people of something - be it a special offer, your personality, a perspective, or a necessity. If this doesn't happen fast enough and above all not exactly to the point and descriptively, the person we are talking to quickly loses interest, and we lose the hoped-for opportunity. — Conversation failed.

You can let me support you in the preparation of your conversations and negotiations (to be on the safe side: no legal advice!). Find out how you and your message are perceived (arguments, body language, language, voice, and much more). I will familiarize you with effective tools and communication strategies. Develop your psychological skills, learn to stay calm, act confidently, remain authentic, and finally convince.

Just ask me personally

 

Please post any questions that may interest other readers in the comments. Are you looking for professional support?

If you are interested in coaching, training, or consulting, for organizational questions and to make an appointment, you can reach me best via this contact form (It is up to you whether you enter personal data) or by e-mail (mail@karstennoack.com). Otherwise, you may reach me by telephone at +49(0)30 864 213 68 and mobile phone at +49(0)1577 704 53 56 from Monday to Thursday from 9:00 to 18:00. Most of the time I am in sessions, so please leave a message with your phone number in Germany, then. Please remember to be very specific about the reason for your call. I will call you back as soon as possible. The privacy policy can be found here.

Transparency is important. Therefore, you will find answers to frequently asked questions already here, for example about me (profile), the services, the fees, and getting to know me. If this suits you, I look forward to working with you.

 

 

 

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P.S.

 

Are good listeners in conversations the rule or rather the exception? What do you mean? How about you? Do you appreciate having a conversation with a good listener?

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When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen. - Ernest Hemingway

This article is a short excerpt from the more comprehensive course materials my clients receive in a group or individual training or coaching.

Published: Februar 2, 2016
Author: Karsten Noack
Revision: February 21st, 2022
Translation: ./.
German version: https://www.karstennoack.de/aktives-zuhoeren/
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