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How to Be a Better Listener

While it may seem simple at first, listening is a difficult and invaluable skill. Some people are better at it than others. Here is a quick breakdown of the importance behind the value of listening and also how to be a better listener.

Top 10 reasons listening is important:

  1. So you know the right homework to do
  2. So you can answer questions when called in class
  3. So you remember people's names
  4. So you remember the correct facts
  5. So you hear "between the lines"
  6. So you know where to go — directions
  7. Courtesy — it is rude not to listen when someone is speaking directly to you
  8. Career advancement — so you focus on a job interview
  9. So you do not answer questions off the subject (in school, interviews)
  10. Respect—to give everyone the respect he/she deserves at all times

Now that you know the reasons to become a better listener, here are the best ways to do so.

  • Eye contact — Always direct your visual attention to the person with whom you are conversing or listening.
  • Body language — Always keep your body in attention. If your body is slouched, your attention span may slack and your listening skills may weaken.
  • Responses — When asked, answer questions in complete sentences.
  • Repetition — Repeat specific comments said by the person with whom you are conversing or listening.
  • Gentility — Be kind. People appear to be good listeners when they want to listen to others. If you look like you're listening "just because," then your listening skills will appear less than perfect.

Remember, people listen in different ways. If you have been told you are already a strong listening, then perhaps you do not need this guide. However, people can always improve their skills. It is also important to remember not to go overboard with all of the above steps. Sometimes you can appear "too anxious" of a listener and consequently turn people off.