For most of my 20s I didn’t listen to people. I was always waiting for my turn to speak. I had the ambition to talk a lot, hoping to impress others. Unfortunately, this made me a dull conversationalist.
In my late 20s, I recognized this about myself and made a turnaround. I realized that conversations are more meaningful when we listen genuinely. Also, life experiences are more enjoyable when we pay full attention. When I watch a movie with a second screen, I don’t enjoy it as much. It’s not the movie’s fault; it’s because I’m not investing my full attention. I don’t get the same feeling of being transported into the movie, as if I’m really there.
Become someone who truly listens and you will be unique. Very few people find someone who listens with absolute focus. Many people pay thousands of dollars to talk to pensive psychotherapists. Often, the psychotherapist doesn’t need to solve any problem; just listening can be enough to help the patient organize their thoughts and move on with life.
To become a good listener, it’s important to let people speak. Don’t just listen with your mind wandering elsewhere, trying to think of something witty or smart to say. Instead, try to understand what the person is saying between the lines. Ask questions like “how did that make you feel” or “what would you do differently this time” to probe deeper.
It is amusing to observe that when you listen more than you speak, people will think you are a good conversationalist. In reality, they are the ones who have been speaking most of the time!
Resist the urge to outdo the speaker by citing your own experiences. This practice is awful and should be avoided.
Every conversation is a chance to discover something new about the world. No one is dull. Everyone has unique experiences and responsibilities to tell. As a good conversationalist, it’s your job to aid them in expressing it. Don’t pre-determine the conversation – consider it like a jazz improvisation. Pay attention to what the person is saying and respond in real-time.
To listen effectively, you must be comfortable not knowing what to say or ask next. Trust yourself to come up with something appropriate based on what the other person has said. This conveys that you are truly listening, as your responses are customized to the discussion.
To listen effectively, you must develop empathy. You must try to understand someone else’s point of view, feelings, connections, goals, and even worries. You must strive to comprehend their reality.
Take my advice with caution. I often enjoy taking risks in conversations, even with people I’m not familiar with. This involves asking questions that probe deeper and presenting opposing views to gauge their reactions. This doesn’t mean I’m judging them; I’m merely suggesting alternatives.
Be mindful when dealing with this situation. To comprehend someone’s emotions, watch their body language and the kind of eye contact they make. Your own body language is just as important. Establish regular eye contact, lean forward, and point your body towards them.
In the future, I plan to delve deeper into the topic of listening. For now, I’m considering a few fundamental concepts.