How to become a good Listener?

Successful home based business starts with great relationships with your clients and, business partners and prospects. 

Listening well is a gift. All that's required is a little self-awareness, a good degree of patience and the discipline to keep your solutions to yourself, hearing out the speaker until it's your turn to talk.

Try the following tips to help you listen well.

1. Quieten your mind

When your mind wanders, gently guide your attention back to listening. Really try to take notice of what is being said. Pay attention to body language, tone and even what's not being said. If you notice yourself feeling bored or restless, take a couple of breaths to keep you in the present moment. Remember that listening well is one of the greatest gifts you can give the people you care about.

2. Ask questions.

Most people want to jump in with a solution. Try taking a step back for a moment to find out more. Asking questions gives the other person the chance to talk through the issue in detail - which helps both them and you understand it better. Make your questions open ended where possible, for example 'How did that make you feel?' is better than 'Did that upset you?'.

3. Trust in the process of talking.

More often than not, the talking process helps people work through their problem. According to Oscar Ybarra, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, talking can improve brain function - which in turn means better problem solving.

In a study Ybarra conducted, he found that short-term social interaction (just ten minutes) boosted participants' intellectual performance as much as engaging in so-called 'intellectual' activities for the same amount of time. Allow the other person to talk uninterrupted for longer than you normally would. (If you're really jumpy and can't wait to break in, take two deep breaths before speaking or count to say, five).

4. Don't make it about you

When we're talking with someone close, we can sometimes feel inclined to make their problem ours. When my partner tells me he wants to move house, I notice myself thinking 'What can I do to make him happier living here?' when really what I need to do is listen to what else he might be saying.

I also need to be careful not to turn the attention back to myself and talk about my needs too quickly.

Let the other person hold the space - even for a whole conversation. At another time you can make a request to be listened to.

5. Empathise. 

There is nothing in the world that feels better than someone saying 'I understand.'

Even if you don't agree, try putting yourself in the other person's shoes for a moment or two. What might it be like to feel like they feel?

Being genuinely able to say 'I get it' is often all they need from you. 

Looking for the best way to work from home? Click here to learn more.