Camille Styles

Life Lessons

How to Be a Better Listener in 6 Steps

November 1st, 2017

This is one of those posts that I decided to write mainly because I needed to read it. For years, one of my New Years resolutions has been to become a better listener, yet it still ends up being one of the things that I consistently struggle with the most. Far too often when I’m in conversation, I accidentally end up replaying events from the day, thinking about my to-do list, or getting distracted by the buzz of my phone. Yes, it’s unintentional, but there’s a quote that says, “The first duty of love is to listen,” and there’s not a doubt in my mind that being a good listener is one of the most powerful ways we can show others that we really care about them. Plus we’ll learn so much more and have deeper insights if we’re able to truly process what we’re hearing. Since those are things that I definitely want in my own life, I’ve been researching the science-backed ways we can become better listeners – and remove some of the hurdles that get in the way most frequently. Keep reading for the findings that have resonated with me most, and I’d love to hear what’s worked for you in the comments.

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  1. Kelly says:

    Great tips! The put away your phone is a good one! I hate when phone rings when I am sharing thoughts with my friends!

  2. Mary Sanavia says:

    I loved this post! These days everybody is trying to “keep up” with everything and they end up doing the opposite. I think everybody should have a “phone timeout” at least once a day 😉

  3. Jennifer Rose Smith says:

    This is great. I think listening is one of those life skills that really pays off when you work on it. I also find that genuinely listening to others provides my mind with a much-needed break from my own thoughts. It can be a very relaxing act to listen.

  4. Marina says:

    Great, timely advice in our age of distractions. The quote from Stephen Covey really rings true — listening to understand is totally different from listening to respond. One is about you and the other is about me! Which brings me to another important element of listening: keep the focus on the person who is speaking, rather than our all-too-frequent response of ‘that reminds me of when I ….” and before you know it, the conversation has shifted from the other person to yourself.

  5. I LOVE this post! I too try to be attentive when other people are speaking and sometimes I also will be thinking about my to do list etc…
    All your tips are right on.
    I especially like tip #4 – Next time I’m in conversation, I will pretend Im going to have to tell someone the conversation later on. Genius…
    Thank you!

  6. Bree says:

    Thank you for writing these types of articles. They really help me grow as a person.

  7. I have such a hard time listening sometimes…this post is perfect for me! I can’t wait to put these tips into use!


  8. Jackie Rowley says:

    Brilliant article I shall put all six points into practice. May I also add, that I find repeating things back to the person I am talking to also helps me to clarify that I have listened properly.

  9. Pernille Bahn says:

    Love it! Simply just love you’re post – specially the one where we’re supposed to pretend to retell someone else’s story. It’s very inspiring, and I promise to myself, that today, I will listen carefully to the people around me.

  10. Barbara says:

    I seldom have my phone with me, it drives my family crazy. However when I am catching up with a friend the flow of conversation is frequently broken up by the phone. The punchline falls flat, the thread of a story, lost. Listening. I bite my tongue and ask questions.

  11. Cynthia Williams says:

    Thanks, I’m always interested in reading/sharing ideas about being a better listener. I appreciated the “don’t think about your response…”…. this is something we all do habitually. I would just like share one simple, super simple actually idea about being a good listener. ‘Shut your mouth.” ;<)… by simply having eye contact and having the person who's sharing something seeing not only our eye contact but our mouths being CLOSED… their brain immediately sends signals that they truly have your ear. When they see our – the listener's – mouths are open they are ready psychologically to be interrupted the whole way through what they're sharing with us. When I read this I thought WOW… it's really a first thing to remember. Cheers!

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