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Improve Your Personality: How To Be A Good Listener

Apart from being a good communicator the other important skill to have is to be a good listener. Improving one's personality has a positive impact on his/her life and career. Unless you have good listening skills it's almost impossible to improve the personality. 


How to become a better listener? How to develop this listening skill? 

To develop active listening skills, it is important to focus on the person and not on the problem that the person may have. It is the usual tendency to switch to the problem-solving mode and give advice and judgments. We should refrain from doing this in the first place.

How can you connect without interrupting or getting distracted or angry? Firstly, avoid giving advice or fixing things and immediately reacting to words. Just try attentive listening.

Listening is a skill that gets overlooked and misinterpretation can lead to misunderstanding and more importantly missed opportunities when it comes to creating extraordinary connections and relationships. Effective listening means actively receive the information given to you by a speaker, an be genuinely interested in conversation, and providing feedback to the speaker so that he or she knows you are understanding what he or she is saying. Active listening is important. 

Here are 5 proven techniques to help you become a better listener.

1. Avoid getting distracted

Guess what? We are smarter than we think. Various studies on speech rate have proven our brain can think faster than the average person can speak. The average person speaks at about 125 words per minute yet we have the mental capacity to absorb 400 words per minute that means we only use 25% of mental capacity for understanding when someone's speaking and if we don't pay attention we could end up with the other 75% focusing on distractions - Maybe smartphones screens or daydreaming. In fact in the book the plateau effect, the authors share research that the simple possibility that someone's phone may ring decreases a person's learning skills by up to 20 percent so keep that in mind the next time you leave your phone on the table during a meet-up. The other challenge is internal distractions like judgment or even thinking about your next question. Our listening efficiency drops off significantly once we start focusing on what we can say next. If we stop waiting for our turn to talk and start actively supporting by giving others our full attention, real connection and understanding start to develop.

2. Know about the interests of the person

It is important to know at least something about the person we are listening to. You can get a lot of information from the conversation or even social media. now about the experiences of the person so that you compose your questions. But understand the best way to engage someone as a listener is to create the space for unexpected truths to be revealed. How you do that? Lead with their priorities.

When you meet a person ask them - what's on their mind. Because once they share their priorities, you'll be able to ask them questions and you can involve in any conversation. This will help you get the confidence. Stepping into their uncertainty by listening and improvising gives you a connection.

Active Listening

3. Make eye contact when you are listening

People want to be seen, heard, and appreciated and there is huge value in paying close attention to their non-verbal cues and their facial expressions. Are they fidgeting or gesturing or maybe they're sweating? How is their posture? 

Research states that 80% of what we communicate comes through these social cues so read those signs to really connect the meaning to the messages they are sharing and if we look at the virtual world today this is the driving factor of emotional fatigue we are all experiencing with virtual meetups because it is much harder to pick up on these social cues through a screen.

4. Never tell, instead, ask questions.

An active listener asks the questions that help someone discover the meaning behind their own personal experiences so when somebody is opening up what if we didn't try to fix their problem, interrupt their thought, or start giving advice but instead lead by listening. If you feel the need to challenge their ideas, you could listen first and let them complete their thought and challenge after they finish the sentence. So you create a more collaborative dialogue versus a full-out confrontation. There are so many questions to ask to let people know that you're listening. Before giving any advice or feedback allow them to validate their own experience by sharing their thoughts. You could ask them how do you feel and get their thoughts and then dig deeper. Another goal is to evoke empathy and encourage others to see things through a different lens. you could ask well how do you think others would feel about this decision and if you want to help them discover the takeaways from their own experience you could ask what would you do differently if you could do it all over again. Above all, you want to be honest and if you're listening and you feel like the connection is missing, you could call yourself out and ask what question did I fail to ask here to understand the reality. This is how you can show people that you are listening and ask them what they think, feel, do, or maybe would do differently.

5. Make note of the details 

Research conducted by the University of Missouri confirms that generally speaking, we are all inefficient listeners according to their findings. An average listener can retain only 50% of the conversation and within 48 hours that decreases to 25%. It is important that you take notes after the conversation as soon as you're done take a moment and document the top three most powerful things someone shares with you and if you can specifically reference their personal experiences that they shared when you reach out weeks or months or even years later you will blow them away by showcasing how you listened to them and how you were impacted by their words.

Let me know in the comments section what has helped you become a better listener in your conversations. I would love to see as many tips as possible.

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