As they say – the best speakers are also great listeners as it helps you build better rapport, create trust and even become a more interesting person. Like the best-selling book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnage says: you can become a more interesting person by simply listening to others.
Joel Osteen, a pastor, and author said, “You can become a more interesting person by becoming a good listener.”
Becoming a better listener is an important skill to develop, as it can help you build stronger relationships, communicate more effectively, and be more empathetic. There are many different ways you can listen from passive listening to active listening. One of the best ways to show respect to someone speaking is to be actively listening to what they are saying.
Imagine you are presenting to a room of 100 people and you are giving your heart and soul into your presentation. You’re passionately giving your presentation only to look out into the room and see no one engaging back with you. Instead of nodding their heads or taking notes, they are just sitting there staring at you with blank faces.
Think of how disheartening it would be to see that. Wouldn’t you rather be speaking to an audience filled with engagement, interest, and active listening? So to become better speakers, we first need to become better listeners.
Here are 8 tips on how to become a better listener:
- Pay attention: The first step to becoming a better listener is to pay attention to the speaker. Avoid distractions and make a conscious effort to focus on what the speaker is saying. Even if the talk isn’t one that is relevant to you, pay attention because you never know when you might learn something new.
- Show interest: Demonstrate that you are interested in what the speaker is saying by maintaining eye contact, nodding, and responding appropriately to their comments. When you are showing interest in what the speaker is saying, you are also, in turn, helping the speaker continue to provide a powerful speech because they know someone is listening.
- Don’t interrupt: Interrupting the speaker can be seen as rude and disrespectful. Wait until they have finished speaking before responding. In many speeches, there is a time at the end for questions. This is the best time to engage with the speaker unless otherwise stated so that you don’t come across as interrupting their talk.
- Ask questions: Asking questions shows that you are engaged in the conversation and interested in learning more. It also helps to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings. Asking questions is another great way to support a speaker because you were actively listening and can ask questions based on their expertise.
- Paraphrase: Summarize what the speaker has said to ensure that you have understood their message correctly. Sometimes your questions can come from not understanding a concept clearly. By paraphrasing the content, you’ll receive feedback from the speaker on whether or not you’re on the right track.
- Practice empathy: Try to see the situation from the speaker’s perspective and understand their feelings and emotions. If the speaker is taking the stage for the first time this can be daunting so share your encouragement and empathy by actively listening.
- Avoid judgment: Avoid making assumptions or judgments about the speaker or their message. Keep an open mind and listen objectively. Remember that there is no one in the world that knows everything. Keeping an open mind will help you become more in tune with new ideas and concepts.
- Be patient: Sometimes, speakers may take longer to articulate their thoughts or express themselves. Be patient and give them the time they need. Everyone communicates differently and that’s what makes us all unique.
By practicing these tips, you can become a better listener and improve your communication skills. Want to learn more about how to use public speaking to build credibility and authority in your area of expertise?
Name: Raimonda Jan
Bio: Raimonda Jankunaite is the founder and host of the Women Thrive Media & the annual Women Thrive Summit, which is hosted every year to mark Women’s History Month to empower women to thrive. Every year we celebrate and highlight the achievements of women globally.