How to Develop a Positive Listening Skill

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How to Develop a Positive Listening Skill

How to Develop a Positive Listening Skill

In our fast-paced world, conversations sometimes feel like a competition—who can speak the fastest, with the most wit, and with the most intel? Listening seems to take a backseat.


How to Develop a Positive Listening Skill

It’s almost as if people are afraid of appearing stupid or uninterested if they give their undivided attention to someone for more than 60 seconds. 

But listening isn’t just an unimportant skill — it’s an essential one. After all, you cannot have a meaningful conversation unless your partner feels heard and understood.


Developing your listening skills is also pretty useful in helping you understand what other people are saying so that you don’t find yourself in awkward situations where you feel like everyone is talking past you because you didn't catch what was just said.


Be curious

Be curious

Before you even begin to listen, you have to have an open mind and be curious about what the person is going to say. Curiosity makes you want to listen and not talk back, which is the first step to getting better at listening.


If you’re already thinking of how you’ll respond, you’re not listening. You’re shutting down your curiosity in favour of preparing your own thoughts, and that’s not the way to have good listening skills.


Practice active listening.

Active listening goes beyond being curious about what someone has to say—it’s about being attentive, focused, and present in the moment. This means you’re not only listening with your ears but also with your eyes and your body language.


You’re focused on the person and what they’re saying. You’re not thinking about what you’re going to say next, you’re not distracted, and you’re not tuning out.


As the other person speaks, you’re nodding your head, making eye contact, and paraphrasing what they just said to show that you understand and are paying attention. You’re also not interrupting or finishing the person’s sentences.

body language

Understand body language.

When you’re actively listening, you should also be paying attention to the person’s body language. This is a helpful way to decipher what someone is saying when they’re not saying it out loud.


For example, if someone crosses their arms, you might conclude that they’re feeling defensive about what you’re talking about. If someone fidgets with their hands, you might conclude that they’re anxious about something.

 This is a good guideline, but it’s not a rule. Two people could be exhibiting the same body language and have completely different feelings behind it. So, don’t take someone’s body language as an absolute, but rather, as a sign that you should ask more questions.



Summarize and clarify

When you feel like you’re listening, ask yourself: What was this person just talking about? Did I understand what they said? If you don’t feel confident in what you caught, summarize what you understood so far and ask whether that’s correct.

 You could say something like, "So, you were saying that you’re having trouble finding time to exercise, and you’re worried that your job is getting in the way."

  Is that right? " This also shows that you’re paying attention and not just waiting for your turn to talk. Summarizing also gives you an opportunity to clarify anything you might have misunderstood.


If the person contradicts themselves, or if you’re confused by what they said, you can clarify your thoughts and ask for clarification.



Ask questions

Not only do you want to actively listen, but you also want to engage in a two-way conversation. If you don’t ask questions, you’re doing a disservice to both yourself and the other person.


You’re not letting the person know that you’re engaged in the conversation, and you’re not getting the information you need to make informed decisions. So, ask questions. Ask anything and everything that comes to your mind.

 Ask about their job, their family, their hobbies, their daily life – it doesn’t matter what it is. As long as the person knows that you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say, you’re doing it right.



Listening is important, but it can be easy to forget about it, especially when you're caught up in your own thoughts. By following these tips, you'll be able to become a better listener and have more meaningful conversations.


In today's fast-paced world, listening can seem like an unimportant skill, but it's an essential one.


Developing good listening skills can help you understand what other people are saying so that you don't feel like everyone is talking past you in a conversation.


When you feel like you're listening intently, ask yourself: Did I understand what they said?


Summarizing also allows you to clarify anything you might have misunderstood. Ask about their job, their family, their hobbies, their daily life – it doesn't matter.