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10 smart things that make you listen better

It's wonderful with people who listen to you when you talk. You feel valuable, interesting and well-respected. General discussions about this and that have a chance to develop into a deeper relationship between two people who are good at listening. As a parent, it helps your children to gain confidence if you listen to them and in the business world you will earn more money and avoid misunderstandings by being a good listener. Here are ten tips on what you can do to become a better listener - and thus be better than your competitors who only talk.

1. Look at the one you are talking to, sit up and lean a little towards the speaker. Use your body language that you are “there”, giving him/her your undivided attention.

2. Keep a steady, but varied eye contact. Too much staring straight into the eyes of another person becomes uncomfortable while no contact at all signals disinterest.

3. Minimize any outside interferences. Remove the mobile phone, open doors, things in your hands and other noise interferences.

4. Show him/her that you are really listening by humming, nodding and using other facial expressions.

5. Make the one you are listening to feel comfortable in continuing by using words like” Aha,” ”Interesting” and more direct questions like;”And what did you do?”

6. Concentrate on what the speaker is saying. Don't try to think about what you'll say when it's your turn. Your conversation will automatically proceed in a logical way when the person you're listening has finished talking.

7. Open your mind. Wait for the one talking to finish before you decide to comment or offer your reflections. Try not to think about where the person who are talking are going with his/her reasoning because it'll makes you less inclined to listen.

8. Don't throw yourself into the conversation because you suddenly recognize the problem and want to share your solution. It may be that the person talking first needs to ease his/her heart. This is very important. If you allow a person to ease his/her heart without interruptions, he/she will be quite happy then. If you don't, he/she will most certainly feel uncomfortable during the rest of the conversation, thinking about all the things he/she never got to talk about.

9. Even if the person you're talking to is complaining about YOU, wait until he/she is finished before you start defending yourself. Anyone talking wants to speak his/her heart and if he/she may do so, the need is much less to address the issue again.

10. Get involved. Ask questions and ask for clarification, but wait until the speaker is finished. That way you will not upset the speaker's thinking. After you have asked questions, you can ask for clarifications  such as ”So what you mean is ...”

Does all this sound obvious to you? Good. It does to me too when I'm in the mood. Sometimes you're not and you just want to get your own opinions and ideas off your chest, but if you practice, you will get much more of what you want. The funny thing is that you will be perceived as an incredibly nice person - very social - although you may have only said four words in 25 minutes


About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

230 000 prescribes to his free newsletter "The 5 minute marketer"
Every week some 230,000 prescribers gets his free newsletter about 5 minute marketing.

"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.