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7 Tips for Those Who Want to Learn to Listen and Hear

Even Dale Carnegie said that the secret to influencing people is not knowing how to talk, but how to listen. This skill is one of the most important when it comes to communication. Who will be happy to talk to a person who thinks about the series he has watched recently or the latest promos at instead of being engaged in the conversation? If you do not perceive the information as the interlocutor wants you to, you will give the impression of an inattentive person who treats the conversation and the opponent with disrespect. These tips will help you listen to the interlocutor and hear what he says, to understand the meaning of presented judgments. So you can enter the category of people with whom it is interesting to talk, and most importantly – want to do it.


Sometimes it’s hard to focus on the conversation because there’s a phone at hand, and every five minutes you get a notification. You’re unlikely to catch the essence of the conversation if you’re constantly distracted and not listening attentively. So when you start talking to a person, put aside the phone and all your activities, so you can concentrate as much as possible. Give your interlocutor a few minutes of your attention and fully immerse yourself in what he is trying to convey to you.

Put Yourself in the Interlocutor’s Shoes

A good way to connect with the person, to understand what he thinks, what message he wants to convey, what motivates his actions – put yourself in the place of the interlocutor. This can be done by asking the following questions:

  • How were you able to do this?
  • What made you do it?
  • What were your feelings about it?
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To respond to your interlocutor with relevant questions, try to put yourself into the situation he is describing. This way you can understand his feelings, experience what he experienced, and grasp the main idea of the interlocutor’s monologue, so that you can then properly respond to what he said. If you succeed, the person will not only want to continue the conversation, but also to share with you some other emotions and experiences.

Stop the Inner Chatter

It is inherent to the human brain to work all the time, including when you are communicating with someone. In parallel with the monologue of the interlocutor in your head there are various thoughts: what to say, when it will be your turn, what advice to give, how to treat the heard information, and so on. Stop the mental dialogue with yourself. It is very distracting and makes it harder to understand what you are being told. Give up the speculation, the assumptions that come in the “second line.” Your task is simple – listen and remain neutral. Be patient, do not interrupt, do not rush to conclusions and judgments. Wait until the interlocutor has finished, ask your opinion, and then say what you want to say.

Remember People by Name and Interest

Passive listening is the worst thing you can do for your conversation partner. Put aside idle talk “about nothing” and try to build strong relationships. Remember the people with whom you talk.  To remember the name of the interlocutor, use the following advice. After you introduce yourselves to each other, address the person by name: “Nice to meet you, Tom!” or “Tom, this is my friend Jane.” That way you can activate your auditory memory by hearing the name spoken in your voice. At the same time, you will scratch the ego of your interlocutor behind the ear and provide him a burst of dopamine, the pleasure hormone.

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Listen With Your Eyes

During the conversation, you should pay attention not only to what the other party talks about, but also to his facial expressions, gestures. Try to understand the emotions and feelings behind the words. Take in information with both your ears and your eyes.


Micro-expressions disappear almost instantly, in less than a second. But they are the ones that reveal true emotion. Anything that lasts longer, on the other hand, is a normal facial expression that can be faked. So your main task is to pay attention to reflexive reactions and short bursts of emotion. In this way you can better understand your interlocutor’s position and feelings.

Teach Yourself to Nod

Nods are one of the main tools with which you can demonstrate your engagement in the conversation. Your nod indicates that you are on the same page, hearing and understanding the person you are talking to. You demonstrate that you care about the topic of conversation, his words, thoughts and feelings. To enhance the effect, any lines of understanding should be added to the nod. For example: “Uh-huh,” “Cool!”, “Wow,” “I see,” “Wow,” “Really?” etc. It’s very important that your face expresses genuine interest in the interlocutor and their stories.


The key to active listening is clarification and explanation. It is better not to ask the interlocutor closed questions, to which you can give one-word answers – “yes” or “no”. For example, instead of “So did you end up getting promoted or not?” it’s better to ask, “How did it all end up?” If you want to learn to listen actively, open-ended questions are the key to your success. So adopt the following phrases, which will be an appropriate start for an open question: “Why did you do…”, “How did you do it…”, “And why did you…”, etc.

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Change the Way You Do Things

This tip is most helpful for people who have trouble hearing and remembering information.  Have you ever wondered why a school lesson lasts exactly 90 minutes? The teacher spends a couple of minutes on organizational things: greeting, checking order in the classroom, etc. The next 40 minutes are spent on checking homework. Another 40 minutes are spent explaining new topics. And the last three minutes are used by the teacher to assign homework and say goodbye.  As you can see, despite the fact that the lesson lasts 90 minutes, children remain attentive and can absorb information without any problems due to the change in the nature of the teacher’s actions. First, they tune in, then they answer homework questions, then they listen to the new material, take notes, and after the bell rings, they say goodbye to the teacher.


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