effective listening skills
  • | October 5, 2016
As men, we are often accused of being poor listeners and honestly this is often true. Many men are “wait to speak” kind of people and that can cause problems with our friends, loved ones, and even at work.

Proper communication is a give and take experience and it’s important to pay attention to what those around us are saying so that the natural ebb and flow of conversation and interaction can continue. Whether you’re perpetually accused of being a bad listener or you think you’re doing an okay job of it, here are some helpful guidelines to help you work on one of the most frequent criticisms of men.

  1. Stop talking: Make a concerted effort during the conversation to not talk as much. If you are a “wait to speak” person, then odds are when the other person is talking you’re loading up with your next comment rather than understanding and waiting to respond. Force yourself not to talk as much and let the other party get a word in.

  2. Think of responses, not arguments: If you’re still a “wait to talk” person and that’s not going to change anytime soon, make an effort to formulate your comments as they relate to what the person is saying and not just arguments that support your point of view. Demonstrate that you are listening by responding to what is being said and not having a one-sided conversation with yourself.

  3. Ask questions: An easy way to force yourself to listen is by preparing to ask questions in response to the speaker’s statements. If a question isn’t warranted, summarize what they’ve said and ask for confirmation, i.e. “so what you’re saying is-“ or “what I’m hearing you say is that you think-.” This not only forces you to pay attention in order to prepare your response but also helps convey that you are listening to the other person.

  4. Count the words: If you’re still having trouble listening, make a concerted effort to listen to every word coming out of a person’s mouth. Say it in your mind as you hear it. This forces your brain to think of the words and comprehend them rather than absorbing the gist or not listening at all.

  5. Maintain eye contact: If your attention is difficult to hold, make an effort to maintain eye contact with the speaker. This forces you to key in on the person and what they are saying. Your brain is far less likely to wander and miss what they are saying.

  6. React with your body: Prove that you’re listening with your body language. As the person is talking, nod your head, make gestures, say things like “right,” “yes,” or “agreed.” This not only forces you to pay closer attention to the person but by acknowledging them you’re demonstrating that you are in fact listening.

Listening is an important skill and learning effective listening skills can only help you in many aspects of your life. Remember that a conversation is a give and take experience and sometimes you have to take instead of give if you want to learn how to be a better listener.

Good luck.