Most of us say that we’re good listeners. Let me give you some ideas of what good listeners do so you can see how you’re doing. Good listeners do many of the following things:
1. Don’t talk.
2. Nod and prompt the other person to say more.
3. Ask open ended questions that don’t have yes or no answers.
4. Lean forward and look interested.
5. Don’t talk.
How many of these do you do? Really listening means listening for meaning. We all understand words but do we really understand what the other person is feeling. Pay attention to what the other person looks like when they talk. Do they look upset, do they look confused? Ask questions that help the other person talk more.
If you try some of these you might find you learn a lot about the other person. I also encourage people I coach to try conversations where they don’t talk at all and just nod. It’s amazing what we can learn when we don’t talk.