Who doesn't like to speak and who would not want to have a friend that is a really good listener? *hand up* You can listen two to three times faster than a person can speak so there is plenty of time to think about something else and distract yourself. Today I share five easy tips how to become a better listener.
1. Paraphrasing - Easy, to show that you are listening and engaging just repeat in your own words what you have heard. If you were thinking about something else repeat the last words you heard. For example:
Friend: My new microwave was looking so great. I cannot believe it that it is not working! I am going to return it.
You: So you are returning your microwave...
Ellipsis gives a person indication that you are not only listening but also want to know more about the issue. One of my friends is just waiting for ellipsis to happen and... Talk, talk, talk...
2. Approval signals - Nodding, noises such as: yhym, really?, could you say a bit more about it...? Let them know that you are listening without interrupting. There is always time and place for your opinion, you just have to know that sometimes people like to finish the story first.
3. Eye contact - Pay more attention to the person you are speaking with than to your phone. Don't stare too much as it can be quite uncomfortable after a while.
4. Lean forward (slightly)- This way you will show that you are giving 100% of your attention and you are will be perceived truly interested in conversation. Be careful with this body position when you speak, as it might be taken as an attempt to dominate your listener.
5. Don't interrupt - and if you have to do it politely, with tact and good timing. I would suggest to wait for a pause at the end of a sentence. Sometimes simple: "I have to interrupt but..." is going to be enough.