Have you ever lost interest in the middle of a conversation? If your answer is in the affirmative, then you need to brush up your listening skills. We know there are way too many things that can distract a person today, but put yourself in the other person’s shoes, and think how horrible it must feel, if someone acts the same with you.
Not just that, but in today’s overly complex world, communication is key, whether that’s on a personal level or professional level.
You’ll be shocked to know that according to an article published in the New York Times, humans only have an average attention span of eight seconds. Isn’t it bizarre? But we want you to be better than this, so that you can be a friend or a confidante for someone in need.
“The key to listening is to understand why you’re listening to a person — whether it is for problem-solving or to bond? We listen differently in different relationships. That’s why we need to ask ourselves a question: why are we listening to the person? What’s our motivation?” says Dr Rahul Khemani, a psychiatrist.
Here are five golden rules to become a good listener
First and foremost, you need to clear your mind, because only an empty mind can process all this information.
1. Maintain eye contact
Eye contact is the basis of effective communication. It shows that you are interested, and you understand what the other person is talking about. It also kind of builds an inter-personal bond among the people who are in conversation.
2. Keep your phone away from you
Well, this is one of the biggest reasons why we have such a short attention span. Even though we have company to talk with, we still absorb ourselves in our smartphones. That’s why it’s important to keep it in silent mode, especially when you are having a conversation.
“There are a lot of things that can distract you, and one of them is your phone. I would suggest not to attend to it, if your phone rings in the middle of a conversation. My phone is always on silent but I keep it in front of me for any emergency. Also, don’t look around and sit at a place where there is no external distraction,” suggests Dr Khemani.
3. Your body language matters a lot
It is one of the biggest non-verbal skills, when it comes to effective communication. If you are disinterested in the conversation, your body language will say it all. In that case, the other person will know if you’re bored listening to him or her. So nodding from time to time, making eye gestures or leaning forward are some of the basic body language codes that can help.
“There are emotions in your body language as well. It builds trust. Another thing that a good listener should have is to have a cool head in the entire conversation even if s/he doesn’t belong to the same thought process,” he suggests.
4. Ask questions
This is another way to keep the conversation going. You can very well pick pointers from the conversation. Plus, it also shows that you have been hearing the person out. But yes, don’t interrupt the person in between. You can reserve your questions once the person is done talking.
5. Giveaways, if you have ever been in a similar situation
There is no point in having a conversation if it can’t be concluded. No we aren’t suggesting that it needs to be solved there and then, but there have to be some takeaways for the listener. And if you have been in a similar situation, then you must tell the other person how you’ve dealt with it. This will also boost his or her morale.
Also, if you’re in a hurry, don’t try to rush the conversation, as it won’t be beneficial. It would be better if you’re honest about the time crunch, and fix some other time so that you can talk peacefully.
There you have it, ladies, the five golden mantras to sharpen your listening skills.