Shut-Up And Listen: How to Stop Talking and Actually Hear

So, how can we be better listeners?

Don’t interrupt. As soon as someone takes a pause mid-sentence, it’s tempting to continue talking to fill the silence. And that’s a bad thing. It distracts from the value of what they were saying. It demonstrates to them that the point they were making, or the story they were telling, doesn’t have any importance to you. It’s not about keeping your mouth shut — it’s about letting people follow their thoughts and their threads to the natural endpoint.

Give your listening skills a test. Work on them.

Go out and practice with a friend. Play an audio recording. Pretend it’s the other person. Listen to it. Give it a rating out of 10. See if you can condense and repeat the point of it. Do it with a podcast or an audiobook, and use it as a chance to train your conversational listening.

Ask questions.

If you want to listen more deeply, you need to learn how to ask good questions. This is one of the greatest skills of any listener. When you ask questions, people feel special because you care about what they’re trying to share. It creates a special bond between you and the other person. Here’s why it works so well: When you ask questions, you are showing that you are interested enough to try and uncover more, to dig deeper, to reach for a better understanding.

Chaotic good. Award winning creative director & writer, ft. in Wired, The AFR, SF Chronicle, Junkee. founder / ✨ She/Her.

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