Most people think they are good listeners already. However, the truth is not everyone possesses the qualities of a good listener. If you want to be one, you need to make an effort to develop your listening skill.
Effective listening skills are necessary for both personal and professional growth. You can counsel discouraged loved ones who need someone to talk to. The problem with many people who want to help is they think they are required to talk a lot. However, most people pouring out their feelings only need someone who will listen to them.
So, if you want to know the qualities of a good listener, here they are:
1. Listens Actively
Actively listening means your entire attention is focused on the speaker. You intently listen to make sure you catch all the necessary details. You are ready to respond to any questions or ask questions if they are needed. In short, you are present physically and mentally. Your mind does not wander anywhere.
2. Gets Rid of Distractions
Having undivided attention is one of the qualities of a good listener. You set aside other things you do, including your phone, to focus on the speaker. If needed, you also move to a quiet place where you will not be distracted by noise and passersby.
3. Pays Attention to Details
You need to focus on the details to analyze the message and the situation correctly. You do not take any information for granted, knowing they can help you understand the circumstances better. If possible and necessary, you scribble some notes so no detail will be forgotten.
4. Leans Forward to the Speaker
One sign that a person is interested in listening is how they lean toward the speaker. It gives you the impression that they want to hear clearer, avoid any distractions, and catch the important details. This is usually most evident when the listener is hooked on the story and wants to hear more.
5. Keeps Eyes Focused on the Speaker
Aside from leaning forward, a good listener watches the speaker intently. Their eyes are focused on the other person, ensuring they do not miss any details. They do not need to maintain eye contact with the speaker since the latter may avoid it for some reason. Still, the listener’s eyes do not leave the speaker’s face.
6. Asks Questions
Questions are important for clarification. Another trait of a good listener is being able to ask the right questions when necessary. Asking questions indicates that the person is seeking more details because they want to understand the scenario or idea better.
7. Avoids Interrupting the Speaker
A good listener also shows respect for the speaker. They wait for the person to finish talking before asking questions or commenting. If necessary to interrupt the speaker, they do it gently and courteously. These habits indicate that the listener does not want the speaker to lose their train of thought and is focused more on hearing them out.
8. Does Not Seek to Control the Conversation
Some people love dominating conversations. They want to do most of the talking. However, to be a good listener, you must condition your mind right from the start. You have to consciously decide to avoid the temptation of overtaking the speaker. You do not feel bad if you do not get enough time to talk.
9. Speaks Less
In connection to no. 8, a good listener spends energy more on listening and understanding the speaker’s message than finding the right words to say. Do you want to be a good listener? If yes, then your goal is to talk less and give the other person the opportunity to pour out themselves. You have to remind yourself that it is not the time to be talking about yourself. The speaker is much more interested in your sincerity to hear them out.
10. Does Not Hurry the Speaker
One of the qualities of a good listener is patience. Even if you find the conversation boring or slow-paced, you do not rush the speaker to finish talking. It would discourage the person from talking further, thinking they are causing you inconvenience. That is why it is best to set schedules for heart-to-heart talks, just like professional appointments. This way, you can allot enough time for it without conflicts with other activities. You can also set the expectation of how much time you can talk.
11. Is Not Harsh
At the same time, you should avoid being rude to the speaker. Even if you do not agree with their ideas, opinions, or decisions, you choose to be courteous. You do not resort to sarcasm, name-calling, or other harsh behaviors that can offend the other person.
12. Knows When to be Silent
You are a good listener if you know when to be quiet. Instead of thinking you always need to come up with encouraging words, you become sensitive to the speaker’s needs. You know that sometimes, people do not really need advice from others. They only need someone who will willingly listen to their rants.
13. Listens With Assurance of Confidentiality
Some people find it hard to speak up for fear of embarrassment or conflict. That is why they choose to keep their burden a secret, even if they wish to empty their chests. These people wish they could share their concerns with someone who can be trusted. Thus, one of the qualities of a good listener is trustworthiness. They treat each heart-to-heart talk as a confidential matter.
14. Has No Prejudice Even Before Listening to the Message
A good listener sets aside their own biases when listening to someone explaining their side of a story. They listen to understand the situation better—not to find faults or grounds for arguments. They listen without judgment, or else they cannot put themselves in the speakers’ shoes.
15. Does Not Jump to Conclusions Hastily
Aside from avoiding prejudice, a great listener will not conclude about the situation or message without hearing all the details first. They patiently wait for the speaker to finish talking and ask questions to make clarifications. Before everything is clear, they do not assume anything.
16. Offers Objective Advice or Solutions
A good listener will give practical suggestions when asked for advice regarding the speaker’s concern. Being unbiased, they do not rely on subjective ideas. Rather, they focus on finding the right and best solutions to the speaker’s concern. Hearing all the details and understanding the scenario clearly will help the listener give sound advice.
Good Listeners are Needed in the World
With many people suffering from mental conditions around the globe now, the need for counselors is increasing. Of course, not all people can pursue a professional or spiritual counseling career. However, everyone can learn to be a good listener. People struggling mentally and emotionally must have a support system of loved ones who compassionately listen to them. That way, the case of individuals giving up on life will be reduced significantly.
Therefore, if you want to live a life of purpose, learning and developing the qualities of a good listener can help you. Lending your ear and time to someone who needs someone to talk to is a mission in itself. Who knows? Your time and willingness to listen may save a relationship, a dream, or a friend’s life today.
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