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Hi, I'm Christine Hassler and I'm a life coach, author and speaker, here today with About.com to share with you five ways to be a better listener.The first tip is to really listen. A lot of people refer to this as active listening. Think of how many times someone has been speaking and only half of you is listening, the other half is thinking about what you need to do or what you’re going to say next. Really practice active listening to someone, so they have your full attention.Next, practice perception checking, ensuring that the message sent is the message received. For instance, if someone shares with you something, reflect back to them what you heard: "I heard you say that you're having a hard time at work and that you're thinking about looking for another job. Is that accurate?" That way it shows that you really heard what that person was saying.The third way to be a better listener is to ask, not advise. All of us really want to feel heard. So instead of giving your opinions or your judgments about situations, ask the person what they’re thinking or what they’re feeling. Really take an interest in what the person is saying by asking questions rather than imposing your opinions on it.Number 4 is to keep the focus on the person you're listening to. So often in conversation it's tempting to want to relate. Someone tells you a story and you want to talk about how that happened to you or how you had a similar experience. But it really takes the focus off the person that's sharing. So save your stories for later and really keep your attention on the person you're listening to.And finally, when you're in a conversation with someone, ask them if they really just want to be heard or of they actually just want help brainstorming. A lot of times people just need to vent and they don’t want to try to find a solution. But sometimes they really do and you can help them find it by asking them questions, by reflecting back on what you heard and helping them come to a solution that they get to on their own just with your active listening guidance.Thanks for listening. You can learn more online, at About.com.
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