Want to learn how to improve listening skills? Then keep reading for five tips straight from the experts on how to listen better.
In this article:
- Why It’s Important to Learn to Listen in the First Place
- How to Listen Better, from People Who Do Know Better
- Effective Listening Skills Are Key to Good Conversations
5 Tips for Improving Listening Skills for Better Conversations, According to Experts
Why It’s Important to Learn to Listen in the First Place
Listening skills are underrated skills that play a crucial role in how effective a communicator a person is. Here are some benefits of listening properly:
- It can help improve your relationships. Listening creates a sense of trust, friendship, and attentiveness that builds a strong foundation for relationships and improves your emotional intelligence.
- Having good listening skills can also help you become a better learner. Being a good listener allows you to digest information more effectively.
- It also improves your information retention, which also contributes to better learning. Since you’re actually paying attention, you’ll be able to retain information better.
- Listening skills help you create better responses in a conversation. Instead of the standard “uh-huh”s and “mhmm”s, you can actually respond to push the conversation forward.
Although listening skills provide plenty of benefits that are good for anyone and everyone, it can still be hard to learn how to improve that aspect of yourself. Thus, it might be better to hear from experts how you can be a better communicator through these listening skill tips below.
How to Listen Better, from People Who Do Know Better
1. 5 Ways to Listen Better – Julian Treasure
Julian Treasure, a sound and communication expert and founder of the brand sounding company The Sound Agency, tells people that we’re all losing our listening skills. With this, we also lose our ability to understand.
According to Julian Treasure in improves your emotional intelligence, to be able to become a more conscious listener, you can do five simple listening exercises:
- Silence: Just sit in a quiet area for three minutes every day.
- The Mixer: Focus on and identify the different sound sources you can hear when you’re in a noisy environment.
- Savoring: This is a simple act of enjoying seemingly ordinary sounds. For example, Treasure says that he savors the sound of his own tumble dryer as if it’s a waltz.
- Listening Positions: Depending on what you’re listening to, there might be a different listening position appropriate for it. Try experimenting when you’re listening to something.
- RASA: RASA is an acronym that stands for “Receive, Appreciate, Summarize, and Ask.” All of these make for a great reminder of how you should act in conversations.
2. Practice “Extreme Listening” – James Altucher
James Altucher, an investor, a trader, author, and entrepreneur practices a little something he calls “extreme listening.”
What is extreme listening? Extreme listening involves actively listening in a conversation so you pick up on details and ask yourself questions along the way. This allows you to pick up on key parts of the conversation so you get the full picture.
With extreme listening, you can fulfill your curiosity and engage with your interests in the conversation. At the same time, the person you’re talking with also feels like they have your full attention.
3. Listen Better by Listening to Find a Purpose – Leo Babauta
According to Leo Babauta, an author, minimalist, and creator of the blog Zen Habits, you also need to learn how to listen to yourself to find a purpose in life.
Listening to others is one thing, but how will you contribute to the conversation if you hadn’t looked inward to find out more about yourself?
Learning how to listen to yourself will also prep you to listen to others. In fact, what Leo Babauta encourages is like what Julian Treasure mentioned before — silent therapy.
This means devoting a specific length of time to silence.
That momentary pause in your life may help you find answers to questions that would have normally been lost in the hustle and bustle of life.
4. 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation – Celeste Headlee
As a radio host, Celeste Headlee is more than qualified to know how to improve listening skills to create better conversations and be a better communicator. Aside from working in the radio industry, she’s also a speaker, author, journalist, and musician.
In her 2015 talk about the 10 ways to have a better conversation for TEDxCreativeCoast, one of the things she highlighted was the importance of listening and paying attention.
In fact, she mentions how this is the most crucial skill of all for a better conversation.
Since we’d rather talk and we get distracted by the flow of conversation, it’s easy to see why it’s so hard to master the art of listening. However, mastering your listening skills will make you a better communicator.
Here are the 10 ways to have a better conversation, according to Headlee:
- Don’t multitask.
- Don’t pontificate.
- Use open-ended questions.
- Go with the flow.
- If you don’t know, say that you don’t know.
- Don’t equate your experience with theirs.
- Try not to repeat yourself.
- Stay out of the weeds.
- Be brief.
5. How to Improve Listening Skills? Through the Different Levels of Listening – Vinayak Garg
According to Vinayak Garg, a tech entrepreneur and author, there are three different levels of listening:
- Listen to Respond: This is the most basic level of listening where the focus of your listening is still you. A lot of people still do this, but it’s better to move away from this type of listening.
- Listening to Hear: This is the higher level of listening where you’ve moved on from listening to the person you’re conversing with rather than just focusing on yourself. Although this is a great improvement, you might be missing conversational cues that are outside of the words they say.
- Listening to Feel: This type of listening means you’re not just the words, but you’re also feeling the emotion behind them. Knowing what they aren’t saying allows you to create better responses.
The latter two should be your goal when you are listening, so you can create and maintain better conversations.
Effective Listening Skills Are Key to Good Conversations
Conversations don’t always have to be deep to be good. Good conversational skills can lead you to conversations that both parties can enjoy and take value from.
These skills start with having good listening skills. We hope the tips above have helped you gain some knowledge about yourself so you can work on improving.
By applying these tips for yourself, hopefully, you can start finding your own personal successes in the art of conversation.
What are your other tips on being better listeners? Share them with us in the comments section below!
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