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How to check if you are a good listener

GOOD-LISTENER

The ability to listen is harder to come by than most people think. You might assume you’ve listened to someone, but can you only recall the facts, or did you also hear the tone they were said in, the perspective they came from, or the circumstances and contexts under which they have been said to you? A good listener is less likely to slip up. They are more aware of surroundings and who to trust. Listening is knowing what response to give, what information to share to others and what opinions and lessons you can form from it, and there are ways to check if your listening skills are up to scratch.

Big Talker

There are times in a conversation when you need to stop talking, even if you are undoubtedly correct and have something of value to say. Good listeners can hear the inner thoughts of who they are speaking to, not just what is said out loud. Employ tact whenever possible, especially if someone is trying to confide in you or is dealing with a difficult time that you haven’t experienced before. Conversations aren’t one sided. Instead of going into a conversation thinking you can give something, go into it thinking about what you can take from it. If you’re going to talk, try to paraphrase what’s just been said to you so the person knows you’ve engaged with what they said.

Busy Bees

Multitasking can seriously impact your listening skills. Sometimes, the gist of a conversation isn’t means you miss vital information. Pausing a friend to close a business deal, then make a quick drink, then put the bins out… these tasks can be done after. [10 effective negotiation skills form the masters] Multi-tasking isn’t always necessary, and even though you think it’s efficient and easy to do when talking to someone, not giving your full concentration can come across wrong or lead to problems for you in the future if you miss any details. Learn to enjoy talking and treat it as a task, not a filler. If things can be done after a conversation, do them after a conversation.

Boxed Up

Dropping hints and leaving subtle indicators in speech aren’t annoying or unhelpful, they are useful and practical when done in the right situation. Your tutor might not want to spell out the answers for you, your boss might be wary of people who are listening, and your potential love interest might be trying to be seductive. Learn to read them. Being able to infer what’s really being said is a creative exercise and encourages you to think outside the box. You might come up with more imaginative responses than you thought you were capable of, which is more enjoyable for who you’re talking to.

Active Listening

Sometimes we may be in the room, but not be actually ‘seen’ to be listening. Being physically present does not guarantee that you are hearing what someone is saying. To demonstrate active listening you will be 100% present and will demonstrate this through expressing interest through your body, for example smiling at appropriate times, maintaining eye contact and actually mirroring the actions of the person speaking to you to show sympathy or empathy for their situation. [Why empathy is a top business skill] When you accomplish ‘active listening’ you respond with your whole self showing you are fully present. Active listening is a highly regarded skill in the business world (as well as appreciated outside of work) as it proves attentiveness and focus as well as makes others feel valued.

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Good listening is about going beyond the words being said and realising not every conversation has to have a certain end result which you have precipitated. Leave pre-judgements behind as much as possible. Be open and approachable to people and prove your trustworthiness by valuing their conversation and letting them express their view. It makes social interactions that much more enriching.

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This article was contributed by Pink Moods.

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