Listening skills worth having

Having awesome listening skills will make people trust and like you more. Good listeners ask questions, and respect people's right to disagree, but they also know when to get help with a problem. Everyone can learn to be a good listener.

This can help with:

  • Making friends
  • Helping people out
  • Learning to communicate better
  • Solving arguments
Three guys on the beach

Why listen?

Listening isn't just the part of communication where you take breaths. There's a massive upside to having some listening skills. You can help your friends, and people will be more likely to trust what you say.

How to be an expert listener

Let them talk
If someone's telling you something difficult or important for them, don't cut over them with a story about yourself, even if it's relevant. Let them finish and try to work out what it means to them.

Don't judge
If someone comes to you with a problem, try to be a friend without saying things that might damage them. Work through whatever they're dealing with and suggest options rather than passing judgement.

Let someone disagree
If someone comes to you for help and you listen to them, tell them what you'd do or give them advice, that's great. But that advice may not work, or they might not agree with what you say. And that's okay, let them do that.

Ask good questions
What are good questions? Open questions that let the speaker go anywhere. Instead of asking “yes/no”-style questions, think about “how does that work” or “tell me about...”.

Show them you're listening
People will trust you more if they can see you're listening to them. Ask questions about what they're saying, and put it back to them in different words to see if you've gotten it right.

Body language
Having open, relaxed body language – facing a person, not too close, and making occasional eye contact – will make whoever's talking to you more comfortable.

Know when to get help

If someone's got problems you can't solve (or maybe even don't want to hear about), try to put them onto someone who can help them deal with it. If you want, you could offer to go with them for support.

What can I do now?

  • Practice asking people about themselves.
  • Be aware of your body language to make people feel comfortable talking.
  • Find out about being an assertive communicator.
Last reviewed: 26 August, 2015
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5 Comments

  • ruenhonx    (1333 days ago)

    Thank you so much for your feedback Bryan F :) we are so glad this was helpful for you. Hope to see you around the forums.

  • Bryan F    (1335 days ago)

    'tis was very helpful indeed. thanks team reachout! :D

  • Bryan F    (1335 days ago)

    Wanting to help paired with /not/ knowing how to, has not only caused a great deal of stress for myself but also placed much unintended gaps between me and the people i care about. 'tis was very "helpful" indeed. thanks team reachout!

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