There are thousands of ways we can spread happiness. Often times we can make others happy by doing something we rarely give a second thought to. Do you ever have conversations where a friend is telling you a story and all the sudden you realize you are thinking about something else entirely? Maybe you started thinking about everything on your to-do list, how hungry you are, or how you forgot to call your mom this morning. Other times you might be in a conversation and thinking about what you’re going to say next without listening to what the other person is saying at that moment.
Very few master the art of active listening, but the more you focus on giving your full attention to others, the more appreciated and respected they’ll feel. You’ll realize that your connections and communication skills become stronger when you take steps towards being a better listener.
Here are some tips on how to be an active listener:
1. Look at the person talking. It sounds pretty straight forward, but turning your eyes and body to face the person will show them that you are engaged in the conversation.
2. React accordingly. Give verbal feedback when appropriate like asking them questions relevant to what they’re saying.
3. Reduce distractions. Turn down or off the radio or TV, put down your magazine, and focus on the conversation.
4. Give positive non-verbal cues. Be aware of positive non-verbal cues you can include such as nodding your head, maintaining eye contact, or raising your eyebrows. You should also think about negative non-verbal cues you might be inadvertently sending like crossing your arms over your chest.
Do you feel like you’re an active listener? Are any of these tips helpful? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. It’s the first day of the Happy Note a Day Challenge on ChallengeLoop! It’s not too late to join! There are over 90 people in it spreading happiness already. Make some new friends and join the fun here: http://www.challengeloop.com/challenge/happy-note-a-day