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Learning how to be a good listener is an important skill to develop in business and life.  Being a good listener means you focus your attention on the person who is speaking rather than interrupting.  Good listeners are fully present and listen more than they speak.

Being a good listener means being curious and asking good questions.  Being a good listener is also essential in helping you understand and empathise with others without passing judgement.

Having good listening skills leads to stronger relationships, deeper engagement, and higher levels of gratitude.  Learning how to be a good listener improves your connection and understanding of other people.

If you want help with improving your listening skills, this article shares eight tips on how to be a good listener.

How to be a good listener

Here are 8 tips to help you develop better listening skills.

1. Be curious

To be a good listener, be curious about the other person.  When you listen with curiosity, you learn more about and understand the other person on a deeper level.

When you are curious, you are keen to ask questions.  Asking good questions ensures you actively sit and listen to the other person.  Being curious helps you use the answers to ask follow-up questions that go deeper.

2. Keep quiet

To be a good listener, stay silent during a conversation when someone else is speaking.  Good listeners hold the space and are quiet while the other person talks.

The best listeners are people who ask good questions and then stop talking and start listening.  Good listening means letting the other person think and speak without judgement and interruption.

3. Be attentive

To be a good listener, be focused and attentive during the conversation.  Good listeners are genuinely interested in the other person and what they have to say.

When you are attentive, you listen rather than trying to jump in.  Good listening helps the other person feel understood.

4. Be present 

To be a good listener, be fully present in the conversation.  When you focus on the other person and understand the conversation is not about you, you become a better listener.

When you are fully present with the other person, you actively listen and ask great questions.  If the conversation shifts to being about you, the power of active listening is lost.  Read more about how to be present.

5. Ask great questions

An effective way to listen well is to ask great questions.  You become a better listener through the quality of your questions and the answers you receive.

The ability to ask great questions starts with asking open-ended questions that you don’t know the answer to.  Asking open-ended questions gets the other person to think about their response and ensures you listen actively.

Great listening questions often start with what, why, when, and how.

6. Use their language

The correct language makes you a more active listener and ensures the speaker is being heard.  When you respond and ask questions using the other person’s language, it shows you have been actively listening.

Mirroring the other person, and using their body language, enhances the listening experience.  It also helps you ask better questions and capture their language.

7. Make the person feel understood

To be a good listener, ensure the other person feels heard and understood.  Good listeners engage with what the other person says and wants to say.

The best questions should be open-ended and allow the other person to express themselves.  Open-ended questions allow the other person to talk about the things that are most important to them.

Effective listening means making the other person feel understood.  Active listeners also respond in the right way through positive body language and encouragement.

8. Just listen

Good listeners understand that it is important to listen when someone else is speaking.  Good listeners don’t listen half-heartedly.  They are fully active and engaged in the conversation.

They are focused on the other person and hold the space between them.  To be a better listener, listen to what the other person is saying and ask open-ended questions that let the other person come up with solutions.

Conclusion

A good listener focuses on developing their listening skills.  They understand that being present and making the other person feel understood and heard is key to a successful conversation.  Good listening requires self-awareness and the ability to be attentive and listen hard

Good listeners always think about the other person.  When you use active listening and ask great questions, your listening skills will transform.

About the Author

Mark Pettit is a time management coach based in Colchester, Essex, UK.  He is the Founder of time management coaching company, Lucemi Consulting.  Mark provides time management coaching and accountability coaching to business owners and entrepreneurs in the UK, the US, and Canada.

Get more personal development articles and tips on the blog.

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