Why do we listen? One reason is to get answers to our questions. Others just want to prove their thoughts and disposition. But some people listen because they want to understand. These are the types of listeners who attentively give attention. They are eager to hear what others are saying and strive to learn something from it.

What are the Habits of Exceptionally Good Listeners?

The following are the qualities and habits of good listeners. They should also be learned by others as this attitude can significantly improve the standard of almost all kinds of relationships.

#1 A good listener focuses on the ‘present.’

First and foremost, a good listener knows how to engage themselves in the current moment. It means being able to control their inner monologues and provide their full and undivided attention to the speaker. A good listener does not harbour on the past nor anticipate what’s coming. Instead, they embrace the present moment and process information as it is being relayed to them.  

#2 A good listener avoids possible distractions

Most of us think that listening is an effortless job since we just need to stay still and keep our mouths shut. But the truth is, good listening requires hard work and selflessness. It’s able to put down phones, turn off the television, and fight the urge to do everything else while the speaker belches out their piece. Regardless of their abilities to multitask, a good listener knows that avoiding all possible distractions is crucial to processing and comprehending what the speaker is talking about. 

#3 Sincere and open-minded

We all can evaluate things, and some can resort to a decision right away. While it’s completely normal and somehow considered as a positive quality, it can potentially hinder us from being a good listener, especially if the speaker is not even close to finishing their story. We might be tempted to belch out what we could have done if we are in the same situation, and that can instantly kill the conversation. Furthermore, thinking about what would be our reactions or decisions can easily distract us from understanding the fundamental feelings of the speaker. Remember, a good listener knows how to postpone rash and irrelevant opinions until the end of the conversation.  

#4 A good listener does not interrupt when someone is talking

A good listener is patient. They lend their ears not to respond, but to understand. While they might be tempted to jump in with their opinions, they know that they shouldn’t interrupt since it can easily lead to frustrations. The speaker who constantly gets interrupted can quickly lose their arguments and even get their point and train of thought derailed. A good listener knows how to respond appropriately when the speaker pauses, and they don’t try to dominate the conversation just to pace things up. Instead, they encourage the person who is talking to empty their “balloon,” regardless of how long it takes. 

#5 Accepts others feedback and shares own opinion

Listening allows us to get a view of the speaker’s world. Even if we don’t share the same perspectives as them, it’s crucial to stay attentive. Remember, life is not a contest about who has the better say or reaction on a particular matter. Good listening doesn’t mean boasting our own values and virtues or bragging that our perspectives in life could quickly address the speaker’s situation. It’s opening our ears and our minds for new knowledge. As they say, the people who do not share our views and opinions are often the ones who can teach us something new.   

#6 A good listener courteously asks the right questions

Good listening doesn’t mean we need to keep silent until the end. It’s being able to identify the right moment to reply to show the speaker that you are listening. One tip is to paraphrase what the speaker is saying, something like, “so, what you are saying is”…, or “what you mean is…”, things like these. Ask questions if you need clarifications. Not only does it reflect our intention to get a clear idea of a particular situation, but it can also make our counterparts feel that we are sharing the same language. 

#7 A good listener shows that they are listening

Although they might have a few words to say during the conversation, a good listener knows how to exhibit their interest by using body language. It could be the slightest twitch of their mouths, by leaning in to encourage their counterparts to continue, or by maintaining eye contact with the speaker. 

#8 A good listener doesn’t have an agenda of taking advantage

A good listener engages in conversations without expecting anything in return. They’re not after a particular outcome, so they wouldn’t take advantage of the situation and intentionally steer it away from the point for their gains. They also know that the spotlight is not on them and that they are not listening to show that they are way better than the speaker. Instead, they will let their counterpart speak and allow the conversation to flow where it needs to go. 

#9 A good listener is curious

When the speaker is done, most of us tend to throw away follow up questions to show our counterpart that what has been communicated has been understood. However, a good listener doesn’t only ask questions out of politeness. Instead, they do it because they are genuinely curious. They want answers, and they want to learn more about their counterpart’s interests. Furthermore, they are giving the speaker a chance to elaborate on their point. 

#10 A good listener can summarize what they have heard

Good listeners show their focus by not repeating the speaker’s piece word for word, but by summarizing what has been said with a goal to clarify important moments or outstanding issues. This response typically comes as the conversation is nearing climax. The ability of a good listener to summarize the point of conversation can create an organic environment that ultimately helps in fostering better connections with each other.