Listening skills: 5 golden rules

“Honey, we’re going to mom this weekend!”

– Yes, what are you? I did not know…

“I’ve told you this several times, you never listen to me.

Hearing and listening are two different things. Sometimes in the flow of information “it flies in one ear, flies out the other.” What does it threaten? The tension in relationships, the detachment of others, the risk of missing the important. Think honestly – are you a good conversationalist? A good person is not the one who speaks eloquently, but the one who listens attentively! And if you notice that your phone is silent, relatives talk more with friends than with you, then it’s time to think – why? The ability to listen can be developed and trained in oneself, and this will be a trump card in both personal and work affairs.

Rule one: don’t do two things at the same time

Conversation is a process that requires mental and emotional stress. To be effective, distractions must be minimized. If a person talks about his problem, and at the same time you look at your phone every minute, this is at least disrespectful. A serious conversation while watching a TV show will also not be constructive. The human brain is not designed for multitasking. Try to fully concentrate on the interlocutor, look at him, show that what he said is important and interesting to you.

Rule two: don’t criticize

Even if you were asked for advice, this does not mean that the interlocutor really wants you to solve his problems. Most people have their own opinion, and just want to speak out and get confirmation of the correctness of their actions. If what you hear causes you negative emotions and rejection, just listen to the end. Often already during a conversation, we begin to think over the answer – this is useless, it is so easy to miss important subtleties. Pay attention not only to the words, but also to the emotions of the interlocutor, calm down if he is overexcited, cheer up if he is depressed.

Rule Three: Learn Sign Language

A famous psychologist made an interesting observation. By copying the gestures of the interlocutor in a conversation, he managed to win over the person as much as possible. If you are talking while facing away from the stove, it will not be effective. Or put things off, well, if the potatoes burn, politely offer to continue in a few minutes. Never take a “closed pose” in front of the interlocutor. Watch, gestures can tell if a person is telling the truth, how concerned they are, and more.

Rule four: be interested

During the conversation, ask clarifying questions. But they should be open, that is, requiring a detailed answer. “How did you do it?”, “What exactly did he say?”. Let the interlocutor understand that you are really involved and interested. Avoid closed questions that require “Yes” and “No” answers. Do not make harsh judgments – “Drop this boor”, “Quit your job.” Your task is not to decide the fate of people, but to empathize. And remember: “Clearly” is a word about which many conversations have been broken.

Rule Five: Practice Listening

The world is full of sounds that carry information, we perceive a small part of them. Walk around the city without headphones, listen to the birds singing, the noise of cars. You will be surprised how much we do not notice, we pass by our ears. Listen to a long-familiar song and pay attention to its words, have you heard them before? Meditate with your eyes closed, let in the sound as a source of information about the world around you. Eavesdrop on conversations of people in line, in transport, try to understand their pain and worries. And keep quiet.

The twenty-first century has its own characteristics. We began to communicate more on social networks and instant messengers, write more and put emoticons than talk. Sending mom an SMS is easier than coming over for a cup of tea.

Listening, looking into the eyes… The ability to listen and communicate is a big bonus for both personal and business relationships. And it’s never too late to learn it. 

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