“Everything in writing begins with language. Language begins with listening.”
~ Jeanette Winterson
Awesome Quotes to Become a Better Listener
Whether we are listening with our eyes or ears, active listening is a skill that requires more from us every single day. It requires knowing when to tune out of potential distractions and learning how to tune into the world around us. Here are 6 ways to improve your communication skills, connect with others, reduce stress, eliminate misunderstandings, and — more simply — become a better listener.
1. Pay Attention
“I think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention.”
~ Diane Sawyer
Paying attention is the most important step to becoming a better listener. In order to listen well, you have to hear what’s being said which involves more than just engaging your ears, it also means listening with your heart. This may seem obvious, however, often the case is that it’s overlooked.
2. Ring In the Listening
“The art of conversation lies in listening.”
~ Malcom Forbes
As fun as it is to check your friends status’s, update your Facebook, play a round of Angry Birds, and answer text messages, when it comes to having an engaging conversation, all those things are just distractions and pull your attention away from what’s being said. Not only that, but it also sets up a roadblock when it comes to listening and connecting with others.
Putting away your cellphone, turning off the TV (and other media devices), or simply moving to a quieter location will also free your mind to be able to concentrate more fully on what’s being said and having the ability to pay attention.
3. Make Regular Eye Contact
“You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.”
~ M. Scott Peck
When your eyes are connected with the other person more than likely your ears are too. This small yet powerful act in body language will naturally help you to pay attention more closely because it lessens the chances of allowing your mind to wander.
In addition, it also signals to the speaker that you are interested and involved in what they’re saying.
“Listening is being able to be changed by the other person.”
~ Alan Alda
Becoming a better listener not only involves focusing your mind upon the words that are being said, but also onthe images as well.
So if your co-worker is telling you about the vacation they took hiking the trails of the Grand Canyon, or dodging a tsunami while staying at a Spa in Hawaii, try actually seeing the images they are describing to you in your own minds eye.
5. Try Not to Interrupt
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand;
they listen with the intent to reply.”
~ Stephen R. Covey
As tempting as it may be to intercept the conversation with your own thoughts, ideas, or feelings, restrain yourself from doing so. Instead, let the other person completely finish their thought before chiming in with any kind of question or statement or your own story. Not interrupting will also ensure that you don’t miss out on important information that could lead to potential misunderstandings down the road.
6. Be Supportive and Caring
“Friends are those rare people who ask how we are, and then wait to hear the answer.”
~ Ed Cunningham
We all want to be heard and feel that what we have to say matters. Unless someone specifically comes to you wanting to know what you think about their particular situation or asks you for advice, refrain from telling them what they should do. Often times the best listeners are ones who can open their hearts and offer love.
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