If you’re anything like me, you have a hard time active listening. Sometimes there’s too much going on near by, I’m distracted by a notification on my phone or computer, or I’m following their words slower than I should be. I try to focus on that person as best I can, but often it’s difficult to hold a whole conversation feeling this way. Following these tips below, I am better able to focus and be present in a conversation and take the time my brain needs to catch up.
Remember these four tips so you can become a better listener:
Listen, Listen, Listen
When you’re listening to someone, try your best to be present. If you struggle with this, do not be afraid to ask the person to step further away from a crowd if that lessens distractions, or ask them to repeat themselves. Try to be mindful when you can, so if you’re on the phone, try to only be on the phone without multitasking if you have a hard time following along. It’s okay if you don’t always have something to say, sometimes being present and listening is what the other person needs.
Try to be mindful of how you best communicate. Are you better in person? Seeing someone’s face? If body language helps you pay attention, try to use video chats or in-person conversations as your go to. Sometimes we can also make interesting faces or motions during conversations so you may want to make sure you are aware of your own body language.
Take Time to Think
Whether you’re talking on the phone, in-person, or online, try to pause before you speak. Take as long as you need if you’re still trying to process any information. This can help your brain catch up and gives you more time to come up with a thoughtful question or comment. This is also a great time to ask them to repeat something if you’re missing any information.
Know Who You’re Talking to
Depending on who you are communicating with, you may use different short forms or abbreviations. It’s important to be conscious about who you’re talking to so you can speak in the most appropriate way. You may use more formal language with your boss, but use “lol” and “that slaps” with your friends.