Keys for Learning to Listen

To be able to communicate effectively with another person, learning to listen is one of the most important skills to have. Fortunately, it's a workable and improvable ability. We'll tell you all about it in this article.
Keys for Learning to Listen

Last update: 08 April, 2021

Listening is a vital skill that you can (and should!) cultivate and strengthen. In order to interact authentically with other people, learning to listen is of extreme importance. At the end of the day, who doesn’t like to be listened to with attention and interest? I’m sure we all do.

A really big flaw a lot of people have is that they spend more time talking than listening. They don’t realize how much of an effect this can have on their relationships, so they continue doing it.

Thus, listening attentively is a virtue that can allow you to capture the gist of what the other person is telling you. It makes it possible for you to analyze the information you receive. By learning to listen, you can be surer of the decisions you make and the opinions you give. It’s a fundamental process for establishing good communication and enriching your relationships.

Listening implies empathizing

As of now, it’s quite essential to possess a certain degree of communication skills, abilities that not only involve talking but mainly knowing how to listen to those around you. But something that seems so simple for many, may not be for you. We understand that.

Generally speaking, listening is an ability that involves establishing a connection with another person and paying real attention to the information that they share. In other words, listening implies empathizing. For this reason, it’s a skill that requires time, practice, and dedication.

In reality, most people aren’t strictly isolated. What happens sometimes is that deep and authentic communication makes it possible for a more practical and functional one to take place. In it, feelings may become less important and the interlocutor tends to be listened to less.

Two friends learning to listen to each other.

Five keys to learning to listen

Psychologist Daniel Goleman identified knowing learning to listen as one of the main skills in people with good emotional intelligence. According to him, this is key to managing relationships with others.

Thus, if you want to develop the art of learning to listen actively, pay attention to the keys we’ll share below.

Try to avoid distractions

We’re constantly exposed to multiple sources of distraction. For example, external noise such as the sounds of your digital devices to internal noise such as your thoughts (which can be very loud).

To listen appropriately, it’s important to avoid all types of distractions so that you can focus your attention on what the other person is saying. It’s about focusing on the present moment, on what you’re doing, and on being there for the other person.

Ask open questions

An open question invites the other person to tell more about their story, as it motivates them to respond with more than one word.

These questions can create a space for a more extensive response; they demonstrate that you empathize with the other person and that you care about what they’re saying to you.

Asking the other person open questions is key to learning to listen since, by doing it, you encourage them to give you more information.

Try not to interrupt

If you find it difficult to avoid interrupting the conversation and introduce new topics, pay attention! If you only worry about talking about yourself, the other person won’t feel very comfortable. Basically, they’ll think you’re not interested in knowing about them.

Thus, learning to listen attentively and empathetically is really important. Try not to lurk to cut the thread of the conversation. When you let the other person talk, you show them that you care about what they’re transmitting.

Additionally, it’s vital to respect the turn to speak, but above all, paying attention to what they tell you is key to communicating and avoiding being part of a monologue.

Two girlfriends talking.

Practice active listening

It’s quite the paradox that the lack of communication and isolation that many people experience today is largely due to poor listening. Also, a lot of people believe that listening is an automatic process.

Active listening essentially involves:

  • Paying attention to the interlocutor.
  • Making an effort to understand their message.
  • Being able to decipher it accurately.

Active listening refers to the ability to listen not only to the person speaking but also to decipher the feelings, ideas, and thoughts that underlie what they’re saying.

Put prejudices aside

It’s important to be aware that, when you have a person in front of you, they’re not exempt from receiving a judgment and an opinion from you regardless of the issue you’re talking about.

Judging the interlocutor’s speech in your head can cause you to lose track of what they’re saying. In that way, you’d ignore much of the information they’re giving you. Hence, it’s important to try not to judge the other or at least avoid entering a negative dynamic of prejudice and criticism.

In conclusion, speaking and listening are both implicit processes in every act of communication.

As you can see, learning to listen can say a lot about you as a person. It’s a way of showing interest and concern for the other. On top of that, it’s an act of generosity and selflessness.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Berlo, D.K. El proceso de la comunicación. Ed. El Ateneo, Buenos Aires, 1987.
  • Roebuck, C,: Comunicación Eficaz, Editorial Blume Empresa, Barcelona, 2000.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.