How To Be A Good Listener

Wednesday, February 19

By Anushka Rastogi

Good listening is a skill that can never be stressed enough. We think communicating is mostly about talking but if you’re not actively listening, you’re basically yammering away. Good listening is a lot more than using those flaps we call ears. Good listening is a lot more than letting voices, sounds and noises get to your ears. Active learning is a lot more than just hearing alphabets and strings of phrases. Active listening means letting the speaker’s message get to you in a way that you can contribute to the conversation as well. 


Here are ways that can help us become good listeners: 

  1. Don’t think of listening as a step before you can start talking. Be genuinely interested in what the other person has to say and don’t think of responding until they have passed on the complete message effectively. 

  2. Try to catch the subtle cues communicated by the speaker to get the implied message even if not explicitly said 

  3. Ask questions and follow-up with your thoughts 

  4. Be in the present and be present (both physically and mentally) when you’re involved in a conversation. Try to not be distracted with other thoughts and focus on the speaker. Focus on what the speaker is saying, the message they’re passing, why they’re passing on the message they are communicating, and the cues they pass on during the message. 

  5. Don’t focus on how you’re going to reply but rather on what the speaker is saying and what the speaker wants to communicate. 

  6. Even if you don’t agree with what the speaker is saying, respect their sentiments, opinions and ideas. Respect what they’re saying and respectfully contribute to the conversation. 

  7. Don’t just pretend to listen, be honest with the speaker and be honest throughout the conversation. 

  8. Encourage the speaker to express freely and ensure your body language cues are able to indicate that you’re keen. 

  9. Keep distractions like loud music, phone and TV away so that you can focus on the speaker. 

  10. For the time being, try to hush all voices in your head and keep pending stuff on the backburner to truly enjoy the conversation and learn from it. 

  11. Don’t use pre-planned answers, let yourself be engrossed in the conversation and the answers will flow accordingly. 

  12. Ask questions that allow the speaker to communicate their message with more depth and clarity. Don’t probe to the point of overstepping boundaries but ask enough that the speaker can open up as they get more comfortable. 


Good listening isn’t too hard if you consciously try to be a good listener. Taking small steps to become an active listener can not only help you have more meaningful conversations but also grow as a person. Good listening is a great quality to cultivate and it’s never too late.

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