In part one of my blog on “how do you become a good listener?” I listed the first three ways:
- Place yourself in the other person’s shoes.
- Avoid comparing the person’s experiences to your own.
- Don’t try to help immediately.
Sympathize. Show them that you care by nodding at appropriate times so they know are listening. Also says little things such as “Oh” when the person is talking about something that they want you to agree on (you can tell by their tone of voice) or “Oh my” when the person talks about a tragedy or something bad done against them. Saying these words shows them that you are not only listening but also paying attention. Say these words at the appropriate times and softly so that you don’t come off as overbearing and interrupting.
Remember what you’ve been told. One important part of being a good listener is to actually absorb the information the person has told you.
There is nothing more frustrating if you have been the person pouring your heart out to a “listener” and a short time later, the “listener” acts like this is the first time they have ever heard about your situation.
Follow up. Another important part of being a good listener is that you go beyond just hearing the person out having a conversation, and never thinking about it again. If you really want to show that you care, then you should ask the person about the situation the next time you’re alone together, or even shoot him or her a text or give a phone call to see how the situation is progressing. If it’s something serious like an impending divorce, a job search, or even a health complication, then it can be very nice to show that you care by checking in, even when you’re not being asked to. Don’t be put off however if they don’t want to follow up, accept their decision but tell them you’re always there to support them