Good Listener

Boy listening to a friendWhat is a Good Listener?

Sometimes friends have said to me,  “You really should get to know ———-.  He is a really good listener.

Take a look at Benjamin. As he listens to his friend,  he shows that he really is interested. He smiles when his friend is happy and shows sympathy when his friend is sad. Here he listens as his friend shares good news.  He learns forward, showing interest. Some people don’t really know how to be a good listener. They wait impatiently for their turn to talk.  Evaluate your listening skills as you continue reading.

Eight Habits of Really Good Listeners

1. A Good Listener pays complete attention to the person speaking. If the television is on, he will turn it off. If she has a cell phone, she will turn that off.  If other people are coming in and out of the room, the Good Listener will suggest moving to a room where they are not likely to be interrupted. This implies that the listener intends to pay full attention.

2. A Good Listener does not interrupt the speaker. She doesn’t insist of taking his turn speaking. She doesn’t change the subject. She doesn’t give advice or tell the speaker what she should have done. Even if she disagrees, she doesn’t judge the speaker.

3. A Good Listener displays appropriate body language. He does not look around the room or out a window;  He maintains good eye contact without seeming to stare at the speaker. He doesn’t look nervous or eager to leave. He looks relaxed. He doesn’t cross his arms (symbolizing that he has a closed mind). He nods from time to time and shows expressions similar to those of the speaker to show that he understands how he feels.

4. A Good Listen really does care.Shee isn’t just pretending to be interested;  She really is interested and she wants to know more. She isn’t pretending to be sympathetic. She really does understand and empathize with the speaker’s feelings.

5. A Good Listener asks meaningful questions, not questions that are too personal or questions that make the speaker defensive. He might ask “Are you saying that….”,  “You’re telling me that ……” or  “That must have been difficult for you. So what did you do?”  These questions show the speaker that you are truly interested and interested in hearing more.  A question like “Now why did you do that?” makes the speaker defensive. They assume you disapprove.

6. A Good Listener might also ask questions to help the speaker consider their choices. “So what are you thinking of doing now?  She might also encourage her friend to look at the other person’s point of view. “Why do you  think your brother did that?”  If you do that, what would your mother do? Have you thought about other possibilities?”

7. When you close the conversation, you want to assure your friend you will respect his privacy, that you won’t discuss it with anyone else. “You know I don’t gossip. You don’t need to worry about me talking about this.”  This means that you really will NOT tell others about the conversation.

Yes, there are times when you do need to tell someone – like when your friend is planning to commit suicide, or even worse, planning to go kill someone. If anyone is in danger, it is your responsibility to tell someone… a school counselor, his parents, or even the police. When you do this, you are not betraying your friend, you are helping him by preventing him from doing something terrible. When your friend tells you something like this, it is a cry for help. Either consciously or unconsciously, he is desperately hoping that you or someone will stop him.

8. You also need to say thanks. “I really appreciate your trusting me and sharing this. Anytime you want to continue the conversation, just let me know.” This means you really are willing to listen further. When you see your friend again, ask how things are going. Ask what choices they made.  As a result, your friend will feel grateful that you really cared. She will feel you are a special friend. She will also praise you to others “He is such a wonderful listener.”

And she’d be right. You really were an excellent listener.

Who should you listen to?

In addition to being a good listener with a friend, you ca be a good listener

  • to your mother or father
  • to a brother or sister
  • to a grandparent or other relative
  • to an elderly person who lives alone and has no one to talk to
  • to a classmate whose mother is sick or whose parent are getting a divorce
  • to a student who has been teased or bullied
  • to the person who is a bully or teases other students. They behave like this because they have problems
  • to a  student who didn’t get accepted by the college they wanted to go

YOU can choose to be that listener.

You can be so much more helpful listening to others than by talking. Everyone loves and appreciates a good listener.

The next page is Listening in Class or in Lectures


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