Have you ever noticed that the trend of people screaming at each other just to get their attention is increasing? People now ignore the subtle and gentle speakers and listen to only those who are loud and shocking, which indicates the fact that people have started to lose their listening skills and because of diminishing listening to the grabbing attention of others requires extreme measures, the ethical values of which are always questionable.
Our decreasing ability of listening is causing us to be impatient, thus this impatience of ours increases our ignorance and allows very few to pass through our acceptance filters. As a result of all this decreased listening, the connection between humans is decreasing and we are moving farther from each other. If you don’t listen to someone, by the end no one will be able to listen to you regardless of whether you are exploding with news of joy or want to throw up your sorrow. Therefore, it is important that we increase listening skills so that we are able to grasp knowledge, notice things around us and above all create a connection with people, which is imperative to internal joy and peace.
I’m going to share 5 simple ways in which you can increase your ability to listen better.
In order to listen better, you have to practice being silent. How can you listen attentively to what the other person is saying if you are always speaking yourself? Moreover, besides being silent, you must also allocate a few minutes of the day to silence, a time when you hear no noise and no sound and there is complete silence. If you can’t find a place that offers complete silence then opt for as quite a place as possible. Thus, when you are silent and there is silence around you, your ears become sensitive to even the faintest of sounds; this is when you’ll feel that your listening power is returning back to you.
The second and more interesting exercise that you can do to improve your listening power is practicing differentiation. We spend most of our day at busy places, the hotels, the laundry, the bar and so on where we hear numerous sounds simultaneously. Therefore, to make your listening better, try differentiating all the sounds that you hear at such places. By doing so you will improve and sharpen your listening skill as you will have developed the ability to differentiate between different sounds.
Enjoy Ordinary Sounds:
One of the biggest problems with us is that we don’t enjoy the sounds around us. All the iPods and headphones have made us oblivious of the great sounds that exist around us and when we are around such sounds, we consider them as noise. Have you ever tried to listen to the rhythm, which the photocopier machine at your office photocopies, or the sound made by the kettle when water starts boiling in it or the sound the vacuum cleaner makes, all have quality in it? Thus, in order to polish your listening skills and to harmonize this listening with imagination, you need to enjoy the mundane sounds that you ignore in everyday life.
The other important thing pertaining to improving your listening skills is to change the position in which you listen. The change of position does not imply a physical change of position; rather it implies the filters with which you listen. For instance, if you are a passive listener, then try becoming an active listener. If you listen critically, then change your position and try to listen empathetically. Thus, this way you will be able to listen better and understand a whole different scenario.
When it comes to listening to other people, the only way you can be a good listener is when you show concern while listening to others. This can be done if you listen to the other by nodding your head that shows you are interested in listening, making the listening noises that show that you are participating in the process, using the word ‘so’ to keep the listening cycle going and above all asking questions at the end. If you are able to practice concerned listening, then you are sure to improve your listening temperament and will make the most out of a conversation.
Now it’s Your Turn!
What is the importance of listening to you? Do you think of yourself as a good listener? Which listening practices and habits do you ploy? How can one become a good listener? Do share your thoughts.
Hi Nate. I wrote a 20,000 Thesis on Silence once. It is a fascinating concept and varies from culture to culture.
I am definitely a better listener than I was, say 5 years ago, and most of that has been due to the fact that I have immersed myself in Japanese culture, where silence is a virtue..
That’s awesome Adam. It pays to listen! 🙂
This tips are really informative and you know I’m not at a good listener and I’m follow these cool tips. Practicing these tips is very important to become a good listneer.
Right on Samir!
I try my best to listen hard & ask people to repeat if I don’t hear/ understand things!
Great article, Nate. I do consider myself a good listener. I’ve always been quiet, not a big talker, so that in itself makes it easier to listen. I also have excellent hearing — excellent! and easily differentiate between sounds. And yes, I have been known to dance to the photocopy machine. I am able to listen with empathy and compassion and to ‘hear’ what the other person is saying. So, I guess I pass the test. Thank you and Happy New Year to you.
That’s amazing Jeanne! 🙂
Listening is one of those important skills we often take for granted! Thanks for sharing 🙂
You’re welcome Catherine!
Great topic! I have thought of myself as a good listener and not so much a talker. I think one way to become a good listener is to listen to personal development audios.
Thank you for sharing
You’re welcome Cindy!
Showing concern is the best way to show you are comprehending what is being told you. You have really shared quite a good resource on how to listen better and i can’t wait to put them into practice immediately.
Thank you for the comments Nwosu!
Excellent post. I do try to listen very carefully but sometimes find I am so busy that I’m thinking of what I need to do next rather than hearing what the person is saying. I am aware of that and really trying to work on my listening skills.
Have a great new year.
Thanks Monna! You as well! 🙂
Nate, I quite agree with you. Am having problem listen to people when they talk with me, not that my ears are deaf or having any problem but you see, smart phones have brought along with their usefulness this madness.
We glue to them all day long that we hardly pay attention to anyone. Am guilty of this too, my wife is now getting tired of complaining. What are we going to do?
Time to eliminate the distractions my friend! Lol.
Great article, Nate – the art of listening is a subtle skill but so very important. I really appreciate the mention of using differentiation as a way of sharpening our listening skills. Very happy to have come across your site. Happy new year 2014!
Thanks Callie! You do the same!
I love the idea of listening exercises. And you’re right that listening skills are super important for deep personal connections. In particular, I like the suggestion to consciously appreciate ambient noise. Sometimes I go outside to spend time with my rabbits, and the noises of birds rustling around in the bushes is always charming.
Must be refreshing when you go outside. Thank you for sharing that Sonya!
Great post on becoming an active listener. This is something I continue to work on. Silence is golden as I am coming to learn.
Life has an amazing rhythm if we are willing to listen.
Wishing you a prosperous New Year!
Thanks Katrina! You as well my friend. 🙂
For me it depends on what I have to listen to .
But you are right ,I think most people seem to have difficulties
with this .
Good post like always.
Thank you ,Nate
You’re welcome Erika!
Hi Nate! Happy New Year. Listening is a topic I’m covering in my 7 part series right now. I’d like to provide and reference your website and this article on my post. You’ve got some great stuff here.
As the kids have grown, I relish the time they are together in all their loudness and laughter. I realize it won’t be that way forever. I LOVE sitting in silence. This is a great self-care exercise and helps me appreciate my ears to hear. With today’s gadgets offering more to do than one human can possibly keep up with and a society promoting multitasking, showing concern is key to listening. If we aren’t paying attention and engaging with someone during a conversation, it’s really not a conversation.
I completely agree! Thanks Tandy!
Listening is an art form! We do need to condition ourselves to be a good listener. I counsel people, so I learned a long time ago how to really listen.
Empathy is what I strive for. Walking in a person’s shoes. For years I practice to quiet the mind. Heck I do it each morning. So yea, I would say I’m a good listener.
I do it for a living, but the problem is that it has become part of my life and those relatives and friends know that. I get bombarded with calls from them he he he. Gotta know boundaries!
Exactly! Gotta set em straight from the ‘get-go’. 😉
Listening is one of the most important skills you can learn. When you listen, you’re hearing what someone else is saying, or in nature you’re hearing sounds you may not have noticed before…. When talking with someone, put away your phone! It’s rude and sends an immediate message”I don’t care what you’re saying”. I enjoyed reading these tips, thanks
Thank you Lesly!
I listen really well, but I could improve my concern as a listener. Probably my biggest problem is to get someone else to be a better listener, although they have been told they need to improve. Not always there to tap or touch into silence, when I have it has been much better for the third person. I guess when it becomes vitally important I shall have to have a heart to heart talk on this and try to figure out a communication skill to silence the issue of not listening. It drives me crazy although it is not happening to me, just on other conversations.
Yeah, so I guess I got my faults too, but they are probably from lack of talking…maybe that is why we are together?!!
But if one listens they definitely find out so much more.
I agree! Thank you for the comments!