Have you ever missed out on what a person was saying because you were thinking of the best way to respond to them? Or fill in a blank when a person paused and what you filled in was very different from what they wanted to say? Or have you ever asked someone to repeat what they said because you were not fully engaged in what they were saying? If the answer to any of these questions is a yes, then it helps to learn how to be a good listener.
Listening is not an ability we are born with but something to learn. Learning to be a good listener has made a massive difference in my life. In this article, I will share 3 traits that made me a better listener. Developing these traits has made it easy for me to tune in to what others are saying and better understand every conversation.
The 3 Traits You Need to Be A Good Listener
If you are that person who often fills in the blanks for someone else, it is good to ask yourself about your patience. Sometimes, filling in the pauses when another person is talking is instinctual. You may feel like you are doing so to make the person talking feel like you are engaged and listening.
However, for most of us, it is to hurry the other person to finish what they are saying. To be an active listener, you have to learn to be patient when it comes to conversations. When you are patient, you will give the person you are listening to an opportunity to fully express themselves.
How does facilitating a conversation feel like? Actively listening to a group of people can be intimidating. Rather than ask questions, sit back and absorb the answers, you are worrying about what you are going to do next. And before you know it, you are asking people to repeat what they said and still not fully understand what they are saying.
Active listening usually requires confidence. To be an active listener, turn off your own thoughts to leave space for what another person or other people are saying. Practising this in comfortable conversations can build up confidence in more intimidating conversations. The growing confidence will increase your ability to listen in stressful situations.
If you often end a conversation with a clear idea of what you are going to have for dinner instead of what the other person needs or wants, then it means that you need to work on being present. A good listener is usually actively involved in a conversation. Such a listener tunes out distractions and tries to be fully present.
Presence in a conversation is not a skill that we are born with. Being fully present can feel exhausting. If you do it properly, you will feel drained after a conversation. However, the effort you put into tuning out distractions and focusing on the person you are listening to will help you gain a deeper understanding of what the person is saying.
Patience, Confidence, and Presence
These three traits are worth incorporating into your listening and your life as they will help you gain a better understanding of every conversation. If you want to be a better listener, then practice being patient, confident and present.