How Can I Become a Better Listener?

Nick Slade Nick Slade • 9/28/12

Listening is the key to communication. Talking is only useful if you know what you’re responding to and use words as a shared pipeline to convey emotions and solve problems.

The first way to become a better listener is to stop talking. Forget the monologue in which you just tell your girl what’s on your mind and what your day was like. Hear what she has to say, and use that as the basis for a two-way dialogue.

Clear your mind of all the things you want to get off your chest, concern yourself with her feelings and mood, put your ego in your back pocket for now and ask some questions.

Most people ask the usual questions, like “How was your day?” but they never listen to the answers. Force yourself to hear the answer by always asking a follow-up question. If you respond to the small details, she will know her words and feelings are important to you.

Tune in to the tone of her voice, which can tell you more than her words. “Ohhhh…it was all right, I guess,” can mean something got under her skin today, but she knows it’s not worth trying to get it through to you.

So, dig it out of her. Surprise her with a little sensitivity and intuition. “Something’s bugging you a little bit. What is it?”

In order to listen well, you have to make her the center of attention. Turn off the news, get close, massage her neck and respond with brief words of support and more questions that deepen the line of conversation.

You may enjoy the rewards of a woman who feels understood and appreciated so much that you will begin to listen better all the time.