How To Be A Good Listener (With Tips And Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When it comes to finding success in the workplace, good listening skills are essential. Building relationships and processing important information are both made easier with strong listening skills. A good listener is a more effective communicator. In this article, we discuss how to be a good listener, understand why it is important and provide some tips on what you can do to become a better listener.

How to be a good listener

Knowing how to be a good listener can help you improve your listening skills so that your communication skills can be more effectively applied at work and beyond. The following tips can help you become a better listener:

1. Pay attention

You can improve your listening skills by giving the speaker your full attention and acknowledging their words. Sit quietly, turn off your computer, put your phone on silent and avoid multitasking. This allows them to express themselves clearly without distraction. This can assist you in focusing on the speaker and ensuring that you are absorbing everything they are saying.

Related: Building Communication Skills: 10 Types Of Listening

2. Ensure effective nonverbal communication

It can be helpful to give a speaker nonverbal cues that help them feel at ease and comfortable while you listen to them. When you use nonverbal communication, you listen and offer support without interrupting a speaker. You can do this by maintaining sufficient eye contact, sitting up straight and smiling when appropriate. The use of proper non-verbal communication while listening can also assist the speaker to feel more at ease and communicate their thoughts more openly.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Nonverbal Communication Skills

3. Make them comfortable

You can encourage the person to share more by making them as comfortable as possible. Give the speaker time to finish their words instead of trying to fill the silence with your responses. Use similar posture, body language and gestures as you listen. Consequently, they can express themselves freely without the fear of being judged or interrupted.

4. Keep an open mind

Be open to what the other person is telling you without judging or criticising. If the message makes you agitated or alarmed, resist the urge to think negatively or condemn the other person. You may start to get the complete picture as they continue to speak. It is also helpful to listen with an open mind and to recognise that you are hearing someone's point of view.

Related: Active Listening Skills: Definition And Examples

5. Avoid interrupting

Interrupting is rude when it prevents the speaker from communicating effectively. You might consider waiting for a natural break in the conversation to ask your question or contribute your thoughts. It is also a good idea to ask if you can share your thoughts before offering them because, in most cases, people are just looking for someone to listen to them.

6. Ask meaningful questions

An effective communication and information exchange begins with asking the right questions. The questions you ask when you open up a dialogue should be meaningful and establish your commitment to the speaker's message. If you are unsure of the implications of a given situation, ask for more details. The questions may spur the speaker to recall other things they wanted to say or open up a new line of dialogue to explore.

Related: How To Start A Conversation (With Conversation Starters)

7. Be empathetic

Listening involves comprehending a person's emotions and motivations, as well as their words. Understanding the speaker's perspective requires effort and concentration, allowing for open communication and building relationships. By listening and understanding what they are trying to communicate, you demonstrate that you care about their feelings and thoughts.

Consider using these phrases to demonstrate empathy when someone speaks to you in confidence:

  • "I understand your point."

  • "Thanks for trusting me with this information.”

  • "Is there anything I can do to help right now?”

  • "How did you feel about that experience?"

8. Providing feedback

As you listen, you gain information and perspective. A good listener is able to comprehend a speaker's message and provide valuable input from their perspective. Give them detailed feedback if they express an interest in your opinion or assistance. Be sincere, open and honest when you respond.

9. Be encouraging

An individual confiding in you may be struggling with an issue with which they do not know how to deal. Make a nod of encouragement, a kind comment or a subtle gesture of interest to show support. As a result of your encouragement, they might feel more confident going forward in the present situation.

10. Keep the information confidential

Listen with care if you want to become a better listener. It is advisable to keep confidential what you are hearing, even if you happen to have friends in common. Make sure your speaker knows that their information is safe with you. Trustworthiness and sensitivity are essential qualities of a good listener.

Related: Social Skills: Definition, Examples And Why They're Important

Benefits of being a good listener

Listening actively is key to effective communication. The following are some of the benefits of being a good listener:

Remain more focused

Listening attentively means paying close attention to what is said. If you are working with others or trying to accomplish something on your own, the ability to focus is a great help. The ability to focus in the workplace is vital to your success. It can help you work more efficiently and produce better results.

Build connections

People feel more comfortable sharing information with you when you listen actively. Having the ability to listen sincerely to others makes them more inclined to communicate with you regularly. Listening well helps you establish trust, reliability and support with others. Through this, you can have more opportunities to work with others, collaborate on projects and gain a better understanding of others.

Problem-solving

You can learn more about others' challenges and difficulties from actively listening to them. When you identify issues early, you can devise a solution or create a strategy to solve them. A different perspective allows you to approach problems differently and find better solutions.

Build trust

Those who feel they can talk freely to you without being interrupted, judged or interjected are more likely to confide in you. If you wish to develop a long-term business relationship with a new client or business contact, this is very helpful. By doing this, you can establish a good rapport with others.

Act considerably

Listening is essential for learning and gaining perspective. Taking into account the feelings of others can lead you to act with more kindness and compassion. This enables you to comprehend their problems, establish trust and show them respect and love. Getting to know their likes, dislikes, opinions and other factors can also help you build a stronger relationship.

Knowledge and understanding

Besides helping you retain the information that you hear, active listening also helps you understand new topics better and remember what you have learned so that you can apply it in the future. The ability to understand other people allows you to see things from different perspectives. It can help you confront challenges and overcome them.

Personal development

A good listener always comes across as someone who is wise, empathic and understands others. Being a good listener allows you to live a more fulfilling life. You can apply what you have learned effectively to make your daily life less stressful and more meaningful. It also enhances your individual growth.

Careers for good listeners

Here are some jobs that you can succeed at if you are good at listening:

1. Translator

National average salary: ₹2,32,706 per year

Primary duties: Professional translators are able to communicate in multiple languages. Listening is the key to translating speech and text from one language to another. A successful translator is detail-oriented and able to focus on the conversation. A primary objective is to ensure messages remain true to their original meaning while sounding natural in the target language. A translator often specialises in a specific field, such as finance, technology, literature, health care or legal studies.

2. Guidance counsellor

National average salary: ₹2,44,685 per year

Primary duties: Counsellors provide academic and social support to students. Middle and high school students can work with them to set and achieve goals. A skilled guidance counsellor pays close attention to each student's needs to determine where there is room for improvement and to learn about their interests. This helps them develop customised academic and career plans.

3. Social worker

National average salary: ₹2,82,789 per year

Primary duties: A social worker is a trained professional who helps individuals overcome personal challenges. They may work with people who need additional support, who have experienced societal injustice or need help to enhance their safety and wellbeing. Building trust with clients requires empathy and active listening on the part of social workers. Additionally, they observe nonverbal cues, such as body language, to ascertain potentially dangerous situations.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.

Explore more articles