Want to be a Better Listener? (Part 1) Stop Talking.

This might seem like a ridiculously simple tip, but it’s not that simple to do! When I first started to earnestly work on my listening skills I realized just how much I was talking, or thinking of what I wanted to say rather than simply listening. It’s a fact that your brain can’t be focused on more than one thing at the same time. So, you can’t be formulating your response and be present to what another person is saying. One of those things will suffer and it will likely be your listening skills.

When you stop making a conversation about what you want to say next you can really slow down and focus on the other person. Watch as the conversation instantly becomes more relaxed without any agenda or pressure. Chances are the other person will feel this shift and this will be reflected in what they say to you. People open up much more when they see that you’re actually listening to them and are interested in what they’re saying.

When you slow down a conversation like this there may be some silence. That’s ok! Yes, we call it “awkward silence,” but it doesn’t have to be. When you allow for some silence without jumping in to fill it you may find that the other person actually has more to say. Resist the urge to fill those pauses with your talking and be open to what happens.

If you want to start listening you’ll need to stop talking. Try it out in your next conversation and see how it goes.

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