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How to be a good listener

"Truly listening, attentively, with care, is one of the simplest and most kind gifts that we can give anyone."- John Bruna

'You are a very good listener'- How often have you heard this from your friends/ partner/ relatives etc? Listening is the most essential part of any conversation. We all wish to be there for someone and help them when they share about their concerns. However, sometimes in the process of trying to help them, we forget that people might know the solutions but all they might need is someone to hear them out without judging.

Here are a few things which you can do to be an effective listener-

Keep Patience: Whether in a normal conversation or in a conflict, its very important to patiently listen to what the other person is saying and why they are saying so. Don't be in a rush to place your point in front of them

Listen without interference: Interfering in between by sharing your story or changing the topic can lead to the other person feeling emotionally vulnerable. Try to listen with the intent to understand and not to reply

Ask good questions: As a listener, your role is to help them express their emotions and help them look at the situation from a different perspective. Make sure to ask questions which will help them get insight.

"I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think. "- Socrates

Challenge assumptions: When you think that their beliefs are leading them away from the solution, help them look at it and be more flexible in their thoughts.

Make them feel supported: Let them know you will be there, stay in touch and be flexible to support them to take steps towards betterment.

Don't rush to give a solution: A lot of times, people already know the solution. But all they need is to talk about what's bothering them. Don't be in a rush to solve the problem or give advice as it might put an extra pressure on you and could lead to a judgmental response.

Be in the present: If your mind wanders, be aware and try to be a little more active by asking questions.

Avoid using phone or looking elsewhere: Imagine being a in a conversation where the other person is occupied in their own world. How would it make you feel? Try to be the way how you would expect someone else to be towards you.

Respect the difference in opinions: Remember, each one of us have been through different life experiences, had differences in our upbringing and the way we perceive things. Try to understand their point of view and accept the differences in opinion.

Evaluate situation and not the person: Be mindful to focus on the situation and the feelings instead of judging the person's skills and personality.

I hope these simple but effective tips will help you be a good listener and a great support for someone in need!

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