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How to Become an Efficient Listener

By Hal Neff

Successful communication is one of the keys to success, and once you’re good at it, people notice.

Most people think that building up communication skills requires developing convincing speech and conversational abilities, but what you might not realize is just how critical efficient listening could be.

Without an effective listener, none of your conversational skills will matter. This is because your own points – regardless of how clear – still would not be heard or fully understood.

Keep in mind that listening is a full 50% of the conversation effort so it’s worth your time and effort to build this precious skill, too.

Here are several methods you may use to develop your listening abilities:

1 . Fight the urge to talk. Sometimes when you’re engaged in a heated discussion, you begin to concentrate on what you’re going to say next. You can even be tempted to open your mouth before the other individual is finished. Make the extra effort to keep your lips closed until they are through talking.

* While they are speaking, do not worry about what you’re going to say or how you are going to say it. Instead, focus on the words and body language of the other individual.

2 . Look interested. Your own nonverbal conversation skills are important while you are listening. If you are looking disinterested and uncaring, the individual trying to talk with you will probably pick up on these subtle hints. They could be upset or less likely to show their views. Makes sense, right?

* Engage with the individual speaking. Make eye contact and nod your head or smile. Let your discussion partner know that their ideas are coming across to you.

3. Repeat the highlights. One method to actually tell your conversation partner that they are effectively interacting is to just restate their ideas. You could repeat key phrases in an affirming tone. You may even provide them a quick summary of what they just said in your own words.

* Refrain from sharing your views when repeating their concepts or ideas. At this point, you just simply want to convey that you’ve completely understood their meaning.

4. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask your discussion partner to expand on what they are saying. If you want further information, then ask for it. The significant thing is that you grasp what they’re trying to get across.

5. Have patience. It’s also important to maintain patience, particularly when working with people who may be shy or may not have the ability to communicate well. If you’re not patient, you may end the conversation prematurely or scare off your conversation partner.

6. Follow your partner’s lead. Being an efficient listener doesn’t imply that your only job is to listen. You can definitely add to the conversation, too. At the same time, you do not want to overpower the conversation. Add your input when they ask for it or when they have finished their point.

Remember that practice makes perfect. After you have had an important discussion, ask yourself what you remember from the conversation. Write down the details if possible. Did you enable the other person to do most of the talking?

If you fight the urge to dominate conversations, you’ll be able to really hear what people have to say!

Become a person that comprehends the ways to be an effective listener, realizing how to be a good listener as ingredients for a healthy life.

Article kindly provided by

Topics: Motivation | Comments Off

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Neff, Hal "How to Become an Efficient Listener." How to Become an Efficient Listener. 10 Apr. 2013. 4 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Neff, H (2013, April 10). How to Become an Efficient Listener. Retrieved August 4, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Neff, Hal "How to Become an Efficient Listener"

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