Learning to listen is essential to maintain any type of relationship, friendship, work, family, or sentimental. The basis for their proper functioning is communication, and good communication cannot exist if we do not know how to listen.
Steps to Effective Listening
Here are 7 basic rules for developing effective listening skills. These are the first steps. Later and with practice, we will be ourselves who will perfect our ability.
First of all, we must be focused on the situation that is taking place. To do this we must focus our attention on the present moment and the person in front of us.
It can help us to focus on our breath for a few seconds or any other technique that helps us keep our minds clear and ready to pay attention.
Many times we try to have conversations in the wrong state of mind, either very upset or very tired, with thousands of distractions in the room, turning over an idea in our mind, etc.
All this will make it much more difficult to pay attention to what they are telling us and for us to understand the message without misinterpreting or missing important details.
Surely you have ever had a conversation in which the other person constantly interrupted you without letting you finish exposing your arguments. It’s annoying, right?
In addition to being annoying, it is impossible to reach any understanding when one of the people (or all) are listening to respond and not understand.
One of the keys to learning to listen is this. We should always wait until the other person has finished their turn and present our point of view only then, for several reasons, including the fact that attending to the entire message of the other person will help us understand their position and develop better arguments. to contribute and, on the other hand, because we make the other person feel heard, preventing feelings of hostility from appearing in them or adopting a defensive posture.
In the same way that the previous rule tells us to wait for the other person to finish speaking, it is also true that there must be a limit to the wait, or we run the risk that the conversation will have only one protagonist and we will be left out.
Thus, when we realize that the person does not finish or does not know when to finish their arguments if we see that they begin to circumvent or repeat ideas, if we see that they extend themselves excessively without reaching a clear conclusion or idea, we can stop them.
We will not do it in any way, but we will do it by asking for permission to intervene so that it is not interpreted as a rude gesture, something similar to: “Can we stop here?”.
And it is that everything that we have indicated above will be of little use if, despite having listened and understood the conversation, we remain inflexible or intransigent.
For this reason, it is important that the other person perceives, not only that they are being listened to and understood, but also that we understand their point of view and circumstances, and that we put ourselves in their place.
And this is achieved when we are interested in what he is telling us when we ask for details or nuances of what he says to understand it better, and when the other person perceives that we have a real interest and willingness to reach an understanding.
5. Look Into The Eyes
Imagine a conversation you have had recently conversation at work where the other person was staring at their reflection in a mirror behind you, nonstop, both when talking and when you were talking
It’s easy to imagine the uncomfortable feeling that a person you’re trying to talk to doesn’t look you in the eye. The message he conveys with this body language is one of total disinterest, perhaps boredom, and it is extremely rude.
Although many times we do not stop to take these details into account, the truth is that they are important for the proper development of communication. Maintaining eye contact when speaking or listening conveys the message that we are giving the conversation our full attention and that we are interested in the topic at hand.
6. Other Points of View
Most of us think we are right when we are having a conversation or an argument. So much so that we do not even analyze the other’s point of view or stop to check how much reason there is in their opinion.
As a general rule, we tend to underestimate the argument of the other, their particular point of view and we can even try to impose ours or convince them that it is correct.
To learn to listen, it is essential to start from the assumption that everyone has a point of view, often different, and reasons and reasons to defend it in which they sincerely believe.
It is not enough to be clear about all this superficially (“of course, everyone can think in their way, it is obvious -but this person is not right-“), but we must believe in it and not forget it (“remember that this person has another point of view in which he believes, try to understand his reasons, even if you do not share them”).
7. Environment and Attitude
Finally, we cannot forget that there are environments that are not very appropriate for holding conversations if we want to be paid attention to and that we must take care of our attitude. To learn to listen better, we will also take these two aspects into account.
As for the environment, we must eliminate possible sources of distraction, television, mobile, radio, interruptions from people outside the conversation, etc. It is complicated (and frustrating) that the person we are addressing is constantly answering phone calls, for example.
Distractions break the “thread” of the conversation, deconcentrate and take us off-topic, so keeping them under control is going to be essential.
In terms of attitude, in addition to what we have already pointed out, we must take care of our tone of voice, our predisposition, interruptions, etc., and know-how to remain silent, avoid comments on the other’s arguments, only issue statements that work as feedback so that the other person realizes that “we are following” them.
Putting these rules into action will help us learn to listen and have healthier and more productive conversations. With practice we will be able to integrate and automate them, so they will no longer require extra effort and will become part of our communication skills.