Becoming a Better Listener

There one thing that human beings take for granted, and that is our ability to listen. I’m sure you’ve had a time where you talked to a friend about something important and either they were looking around the ceiling or seconds after you stopped talking looked at you and said, “What?”

How did this make you feel? I’m guessing irritating or not wanting to go any further in wasting your time talking to this person. I feel the same way sometimes. And if we have the same obnoxious feeling every time somebody doesn’t fully listen to us, then guess what… we aren’t so inclined to put more effort into this relationship or making it work!

We might not go so far as to admit it, but at least this is how we feel inside. This is why relationships, whether stranger to stranger, friend to friend, or family member to family member, end up never even starting in the first place or just end up breaking down. Here are five benefits why you should become a better listener.

5 Benefits of Being a Good Listener

  • Increases the chances of passing a job interview compared to a competitor who doesn’t listen well
  • Empathize with a friend who is in trouble and help them with their problems
  • Builds deeper intimacy with a lover that you have whether this is a girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse
  • Develops better relationship with family members that get on your nerve
  • Connect with anybody in public and develop a trustworthy friendship within minutes

You never know when you’ll meet somebody in life that has value to you. You can be in a setting where you have to communicate because without communicating, there will be that awkward silence. And nobody wants that when you’re within ten feet away from each other when there’s only two of you.

Even if you happen to be nervous, if you start to listen, things become a lot easier. An attractive person you see may turn out to be a potential date, or a older man might work for some high end company and offer you a job right on the spot. It’s awesome to be able to connect with somebody that’s different than the usual because both people are good listeners.

Here are some pointers from me.

Whatever language you speak – English, or another language other than English – the thing I’ve noticed is that words aren’t that important. For example, other than English, I understand Chinese, Taiwanese, and a little bit of Japanese. And let me tell you, there is a distinct difference in tone of voice between these four languages. To be a good listener, you need to listen to a person’s tone. Whatever comes out of your mouth is not as important as long as you are matching their tone.

For example, in English there are no specific tones in the language. In Japanese, all the syllabus in words are shorter. That’s why it seems like Japanese people talk so quick In Chinese and Taiwanese there are more, many of the words are elongated with different tones.

If you’re having a hard time understanding what this means, imagine the English word for “book.” Book is just book; there’s one way to say it and if someone foreign to English pronounced “book,” you would not get confused with what they mean.

In Chinese, there are 4 tones. The Chinese word for “tree” can have four different meanings depending on the tone of voice and if you’re not a good listener, you would never know the difference.

In Taiwanese, there are 8 tones. To add one to this complexity, one of the eight tones uses a more nasal sound to it.

This is one of the reasons why when why people from the East of the world have such an incredibly thick accent when going to the West and while people from the West have such an incredibly thick accent when going to the East. Words are easy to memorize, but the tone is very difficult to master.

Luckily, for most people who are reading this, we don’t have to deal with complicated tones; we just have to deal with the tone of a person’s emotions.

When listening to a person, don’t just listen to their words. Take other factors into consideration. What kind of tone are they using? Are they loud? This could mean that they’re angry or that they’re just an outgoing person. Are they talking softly? This could mean that their more sensitive of a person or that they are more of a quieter person.

Listen to the pace of their voice. Are they talking quickly? Maybe they’re in a rush, their nervous, or they’re very excited. Are they talking slowly? Maybe each word to them really means a lot and they like to engage in small chat, maybe they’re just a mellow person without the need to rush things, or maybe their one of those people who are very pompous and enjoys saying each word perfectly.

The point is if you’re not a good listener, there’s a good point that you’ll just skip all things. There’s also a good chance that the communication will discontinue once one of you guys thinks the other person is too annoying to talk to.

For example, a person who has a soft voice might find somebody who talks like Billy Mays annoying and impossible to communicate with. The soft voice person will politely excuse themselves from the conversation while the loud person says, “Okay! It was nice meeting you! Goodbye!”

A quick talker who finds himself with somebody that talks as slow as Ben Stein will eventually find themselves falling asleep within 5 minutes of the conversation, or just get very annoyed and quickly do anything they can to avoid going further in the conversation.

To be a good listener you need to take things like volume, pace, tone, and other distinctive qualities that they have in their voice in addition to the words itself.

Then, in other to make the other person like you, simply mirror their way communicating with you. If they talk loud, speak a little bit louder than you usually do. If they talk slowly, speak a little bit slower than you usually do. If their voice seems down, don’t speak enthusiastically. If they’re voice is super excited, speak with excitement!

When you begin to use your attune your listening skills and listen beyond just words, you’ll begin to realize there’s a lot more going on.

If you’ve ever heard your English teacher say to you, “Read between the lines of the text.” That’s what’s going on here.

When you listen and understand their way of communication, start to mirror their way of speaking and then slowly lead them to your way of communicating so that they start speaking in a way that’s closer to yours.

Even if you guys know nothing about each other to begin with or come from different backgrounds, listening well and communicating in this way will make the relationship spark real quick because you guys will be sharing something together.

This will help you with business, friendship, or love; but the ultimate benefit is to be able to create a random relationship with anybody and grow it into to something trustworthy, valuable, and meaningful. And this begins with not only being able to listen, but being able to listen well.