B059: How to be a better listener

By April 26, 2019April 30th, 2019The Simplifiers Podcast

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Communication is a two way street, and good listening skills are vital in building good relationships in work, and in life. Today’s episode will give you 4 useful tips on how to skill-up and be a better listener.

“Oh, what’s that you said? I was just waiting for you to stop talking, so I could hear myself speak!” (HA!)

How many times have you caught yourself doing that?? If I’m honest with myself, too many times to count (for me!)

So, here are a few simple, practical tips to try out today:


Tips to help you be a better listener

1. Maintain eye contact

Now, I’m not talking ‘stalker eyes staring contest’ – that’s creepy. But when someone is chatting with you, look at them. When you’re looking everywhere else except at the person talking, you’re giving the non-verbal cues that what they’re saying isn’t important. Then the conversation suffers, as a whole. So get your eyes on them. Nod your head ‘yes’ to show them you’re paying attention, and thank me later.

2. Pocket the smartphone

There’s nothing more annoying than when you’re talking to someone and then—all of sudden—they pull out their phone and start tap, tap, tapping away. ‘Umm, hello! I’m over here…’

Put the phone away… Instagram can wait.

Give the person you’re speaking with a some respect. Show them you’re listening by not multitasking.

Trust me… no one is buying the idea that you’re truly listening to them, when you’re simultaneously texting someone else.

3. Repeat back and summarize

One of the very best ways to help people feel heard and understood is to summarize back key points of what they said. It’s goes something like this…

“So, I think I heard you say this… did I get that right?”

And then they can respond with more substance to clarify the point they are trying to make, as needed.

By paraphrasing back what you heard in your own words, it’s showing them vocally that you’re listening, and you get what they’re trying to convey.

4. Let them finish

There is nothing worse than getting interrupted constantly when you’re trying to speak. Seriously… I’d rather someone poke me in the eyeball than to have someone finish my sentences. It’s so (freakin’) annoying!

So, the next time you find yourself in a conversation, challenge yourself to be present, don’t interrupt. Don’t think about your response while they’re talking. Don’t jump in with solutions. Just listen. Let the other person say their piece, vent, and get it out there. Then, take a micro-pause, breathe… and THEN respond.

Practice makes perfect here. The more you try to be intentional with your listening skills, the better you’ll get at this. And trust me, when you master the art of listening, every relationship in your life improves.

Every. single. one.

And just one final whisper, just from me to you, dear friend… come in closer.

If you’ve found yourself in a work environment where you’re interrupting each other—or finishing each other’s sentences—take a moment and consider if this is healthy… or not?

Many times, we grow a close bond with our co-workers. We may think alike, act alike, and start to anticipate what the other person is going to say before they open their mouth.

Be careful here.

You might chalk this up as, ‘Oh, we are sooooo close, we know each other so well, we finish each other’s sentences!’

And the other person might be silently stewing inside, thinking, ‘Holy mother of Jesus, when will this girl give me a chance to complete a thought!!?! That’s so annoying!’

If I’ve just described the situation at your workplace to the T, I highly recommend reading and absorbing the 4 tips I mentioned above. And try something different today.

Also, don’t forget to listen to 062: How to get more referrals through networking – with Tara Bradford, as Tara shares tips on listening with intentionality, that will help you break this bad habit.

Remember, people appreciate it when they feel heard and understood by others. I know I do. And when someone takes the time to show me verbally with their words, and non-verbally with their body language, that they’re (truly) listening, it builds trust and respect in our relationship.

And THAT is everything.

You can do this, I believe in you.

It’s time to SIMPLIFY.

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Easy peasy, super simple!

Big thanks to our undercover superheroes at The Simplifiers Podcast that help us create these episodes for you – Suzen Marie, our Podcast Editor. Jeffrey Lynn, our Video Editor. Janine Yardley, our Show Notes Editor. Lyden Yardley, our Director of Brilliance. Manminder Athwal, our Blogger. Our advisory board includes: Aubri Nowowiejski, Chris Justice and George Mills. And I’m your host, Mary Baird-Wilcock. Thank you so much for listening and telling your peeps about us.

As always friends, keep things simple.

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