Learn not only to listen, but also to hear

Few people will argue with the importance of productive communication for a variety of aspects of our lives-from communication in the workplace to building romantic relationships.

To do this, of course, you should learn to clearly formulate your thoughts and ideas. However, many people forget that the ability to speak clearly is only half of communication.

The second, no less important part of it, consists of the ability to hear the arguments and position of your opponent. Below you will find six tips on how to do this best.

1 Be attentive and relaxed

Probably the most important part of effective listening is being attentive. Try to focus on what the other person is saying and be fully present in the present moment.

Do your best to block out distractions, such as noise from the street or from the TV, as well as your thoughts on extraneous topics.

However, it is not necessary to be attentive to such an extent that you freeze and look at the person with an unblinking gaze while he speaks. It can be very unnerving.

Try to relax and make your pose as natural as possible. This will help the other person feel more at ease.

2 Maintain eye contact

To show the person that you are listening carefully, look at him and turn your body in his direction.

Again, eye contact does not mean that you should “drill” a person with your eyes.

Just try not to let your eyes wander to your phone or computer screen. This distracts attention and makes the other person think that you are not interested in what they are talking about.

3 Visualize the words of your opponent

As you listen carefully, let your mind draw a mental picture of what you are being told. These can be literal images or more abstract concepts and ideas.

This picture will help you understand more clearly what is being said, as well as better remember the story of the person.

4 Don’t interrupt

One of the surest ways to degrade the quality of communication is to interrupt the person. Remember a verbal battle in which two people try to shout over each other, trying to convey their point of view. Such a dialogue is rarely productive, and it is difficult for both sides to be heard in it.

So never interrupt the other person. Such behavior is impolite and looks like you don’t care what others say, and you think it’s more important what you want to say yourself.

5 Ask questions

When the person you’re talking to stops talking and shows that their story is over, it’s time for clarifying questions.

With their help, you can better understand what they are telling you, as well as make sure that you correctly assess the position of the opponent on this issue.

Why shouldn’t this be done in the course of the story? Because this way you can easily turn the conversation to a completely different topic and not let the person fully express what he wanted.

6 Be open to other points of view

To really hear someone and give them the opportunity to share their position, you should try to be open-minded and not rush to judge the one who’s speaking.

If he says something that makes you think or raises some concerns, keep it to yourself for the time being. Before you draw any conclusions or prove the other person wrong, listen to their arguments or story in its entirety.

After that, do your best to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and look at the situation from their point of view. This is not easy, and it will have to be worked on.

However, when you learn how to do this, you will see that it has become easier for you to communicate with other people, understand them, and effectively build your communication with them.