How to be great at listening
1 min read.
Being good at listening is the most important skill that enhances the quality of your interactions with people.
I'm personally working on improving it. I was used to talking to a computer from a young age and became really good at it, but talking to people is essential, and its importance grows over time. The older you get, the more important people become.
Here's the secret: Listen first, speak last. Ask questions, lots of questions.
Just as you can't breathe and eat at the same time, you can't listen when you're speaking. Resist the urge to talk, to respond, to react. Just listen. It sounds easy, but it is not.
If you are lucky enough that people come to you for advice, remember this: The best advice you can give is to listen, telling that person they matter. The most effective treatment for anybody's grief or anxiety is time and care. The former takes care of itself, which can be achieved when we tell someone we love them without words, by listening. Just imagine someone feeling you love them without saying a single word.
Listen with your eyes (80%), as well as your ears (20%). Pay full attention and give them the gift of being present. You are meant to be there to bounce their ideas, amplify, and clarify them. Not to react, just to listen.