How to improve your listening skills

Happy Thursday! Today I want to take a break from the hammer and rake (ha!) and instead focus on some self-improvement tips we can all use. (Remember my website’s tagline … decorating, organizing, home and life improvement? Well this is the ‘life improvement’ part.)

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to magnetically attract friends? These people get invited to all the “parties” and easily build and maintain relationships. They solve problems quickly and seem to excel at almost everything they try. In short, they rock!

One of the main reasons these folks make and keep friends so easily is because, when you are with them, you feel genuinely appreciated and heard. Why? These people have most likely developed some excellent listening skills.

So how do we mere mortals work to become similar “superstars?” We start by practicing the following 10 tips for improving our listening skills:

1. Practice actively listening – Engage the speaker. Ask questions.

2. Open your eyes – Make and keep eye contact.

3. Keep your mouth closed – Remember that saying about two ears and one mouth? Listen twice as much as you talk.

4. Forget yourself – Don’t blurt out things like your own experiences in the situation. (Boy do I struggle with this!)

5. Don’t interrupt – Let the speaker complete what he/she wants to say.

6. Resist multi-tasking – Give the speaker your undivided attention. (Yes, this means put down the cell phone.)

7. Be a mirror, not a window – Reflect back what you think the speaker is saying to make sure you understand.

8. Mother May I – Ask to give advice or your take on the situation. Don’t just jump in and give it. (This is another problem I have.)

9. Withhold judgment – Just listen with an open heart and mind.

10. Empathize – Walk a mile in his/her shoes. What is the speaker feeling and how would you feel if you were dealing with the same situation?

Now after reading these tips, do you believe you are a good, bad or average listener? I’d love for you to share your thoughts or any other listening tips we could all benefit from.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. – James 1:19-20

I’m linking this up to Women Living Well.

You may also like...

7 Responses

  1. sarah says:

    Great reminders!

  2. Sharon Hines says:

    Hmmm, I struggle with interrupting and blurting out my own experiences. I always feel so self conscious when it happens…it’s so impulsive. And with my daughter, I constantly multi-task. I guess I have some things to work on. Thanks for the exhortation!

    Sharon @ mrs. hines class

  3. Darlene says:

    This is great advise. I am good in some areas and bad in others. Thanks for reminding me of the others!!


  4. becky zannino says:

    Susan, could you repeat that again I totally missed it? Ha! Ha! Susan, you do such a great job with your God given talent, keep it up girl!

  5. sandi says:

    those are great reminders! my husband is a wonderful listener especially with maintaining eye contact ~ the worst is when he is driving he also wants that same level of eye contact as if we were sitting on the couch! i am good at some and not so good at others ~ nice to have a reminder of what we need to work on with ourselves.

  6. Yikes… I certainly thought I was a great listener until reading through these tips lol 🙂 I was always aware of my habit of interrupting and have been trying to work on that – but I’ll also be working on ‘forgetting myself’ and asking if the speaker wants my advice before I just assume they do. Great tips, thank you for sharing!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *