What makes a good listener?
- Conducting conversation without interrupting each other
- Showing empathy (not criticizing, arguing or patronizing)
- Establishing a physical sense of closeness without invading personal space
- Using body language that shows you are open and attentive
- Offering your own self-disclosures (not too many, or too soon)
- Try your best to understand the context of the other person’s life when exchanging experiences
Proper listening conveys the idea that “I’m interested in you as a person and I think what you say is important. I want to give you a quality response.”
- Make a commitment to hold yourself accountable for each situation where you will be listening.
- Give each person a clean slate when you begin to listen to them, not allowing yourself to listen from the past.
- Put aside any distractions from phones to mental stresses.
- Ask questions for clarification when it is appropriate.
- Expect to learn something from each listening encounter.
- Show that you are listening by attentive and open body language; nodding, eye contact and quick verbal agreements can let the person know you are paying attention to what they are saying.
- Listening without interruption requires one speaker at a time.
- Allow speaker to tell their story, avoid making judgments and trying to sway them toward a particular outcome.
Adapted from NPS Academy Program Guide