How to Listen and Hear People: 7 Steps From a Psychologist

In a world where conferences, presentations and business meetings have moved online, the emphasis is usually on the ability to speak, but missing the second, no less important communication skill – the ability to listen. And you can’t do without it at work, in education, in family life, and even in non-social activities, like playing at live casino Hellspin login games. Here are simple tips to help pump the skill of listening and thereby improve relationships with people.

Determine Your Motivation

Before any conversation, it’s better to decide in advance what its value to you is. What is more important – to prove your point, or to solve a problem; to show yourself in a positive light, or to get useful information? The answers to these questions will help you choose the right tactics.

If dialogue, rather than monologue, is important to you, then:

  • Don’t hang labels on your interlocutor. Even if the person doesn’t know the subject you want, he or she can offer fresh thoughts and ideas, steer the conversation in an interesting direction, and push you toward the right answer (if you’re looking for it as you go along).
  • Don’t switch all the attention to yourself, don’t be in a hurry to give useful advice and share experiences. Your interlocutor probably doesn’t need it.
  • Refrain from any criticism, not just negative.

Remember the Little Details

You’d be surprised, but many people don’t even bother to remember the names of their new acquaintances. Try to keep other details in mind, especially at the beginning of the conversation when the person gives introductions: name, age, profession, place of work, etc. If for some reason you missed something, the sooner you repeatedly and politely clarify the necessary information, the better.

Don’t Hesitate to Ask Clarifying Questions

This is important both in terms of showing attention to the person you are talking to and to prevent misinterpretation of what you have heard. It’s always better to clarify if you have understood the person correctly. This is especially true for such multifaceted concepts as love, friendship, the degree of responsibility but also in a working dialogue will never be superfluous.

Don’t Interrupt

Even clarifying questions shouldn’t throw the interlocutor off balance. It’s rude and unproductive: a person who loses the thread of the conversation may miss some of the information they need, or become more aggressive in their dialogue. So wait for a pause before asking questions.

It’s most difficult to do this in online mode, when due to possible communication problems the pauses “come” with a delay (in real time the person has already started talking, but you can’t hear it yet). Sometimes the most reasonable thing is to move the dialogue to another time or to a location with better network parameters.

Pay Attention to Your Interlocutor’s Tone and Gestures

You don’t have to be a cool detective to read non-verbal signs. The main things you should pay attention to are signs of agitation and nervousness (wiggling your leg, faltering breathing, tapping your pen on the table, etc.) and inconsistency of facial expressions and gestures to what is being said (for example, when a person tells something very emotional with a frozen face).

Take Your Time Answering

Don’t make up your own lines during a conversation: doing so will only distract you from the conversation, and you’re bound to miss something. A sincere, spontaneous reaction is great, but in heated debates on hot topics, it’s always better to wait, take a breath, analyze the other person’s speech, and only then give a calm, thoughtful answer.

Give Feedback

There are a few techniques that will not only show your attention to your interlocutor but also keep you from getting distracted and losing the thread of the conversation yourself.

  • Even experienced speakers find it difficult to continue a dialogue with a silent person. But don’t overdo it, attention is also good in moderation.
  • Repeat phrases of the interlocutor in your own words. For example: “So you went and made yourself some black tea?”
  • Sometimes you can repeat your interlocutor’s phrases in his words, like an echo. This will help you be on the same emotional wavelength and discreetly ask a clarifying question, if necessary: “I made tea.” – “Did you make tea? Black or green?”
  • “Mirror” his emotions and gestures. Adopt similar postures, and in conversation, support his attitude: “I understand you don’t like hot tea…”
  • Summarize and articulate everything the person said, “I understand you made yourself some black tea, but you didn’t drink it while it was hot. Then you got distracted, and when you remembered the tea, it was already cold.” Such a summary not only helps active listening but also sets the semantic emphasis of the conversation.

It’s impossible to listen without making an effort, because sooner or later everyone gets distracted. Try to minimize this process: put away the phone, keep eye contact with the interlocutor, don’t immerse yourself in your thoughts, participate in the conversation and control your emotions.

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