Listening is a vital part of communication, but it's also an ability that must be learned and practiced.
We live in a world where it's easy to go about our lives without ever really stopping to talk to the people around us. We text, email, Snap Chat, and Tweet—all great ways to communicate quickly and easily. But sometimes we forget that there's no substitute for good old-fashioned conversation.
A conversation is an art form; like any art form, it takes practice to improve. If you're not used to spending time talking with other people, it can be hard to know how to start a conversation or keep it going.
Here are a few tips on how to listen:
1. Make eye contact.
Eye contact might seem like a no-brainer, but looking at the person you're talking to is essential. First, it shows that you're interested in what they have to say.
2. Don't interrupt.
It's tempting to jump in when you hear something you want to respond to, but try to resist the urge. Instead, let the other person finish speaking before you start talking.
3. Ask questions
A good conversation is a back-and-forth exchange, not a one-sided monologue. Asking questions shows that you're engaged in the conversation and interested in learning more about the other person.
4. Pay attention to nonverbal cues.
In addition to what someone is saying, please pay attention to their body language and tone of voice. Body language can give clues about their feelings and what they're trying to say.
5. Be genuine.
People can usually tell when you're not sincere, so your conversation must be authentic. If you're not interested in the topic, don't pretend to be—find a way to steer the conversation in a different direction politely.
6. Keep an open mind.
The conversation is a two-way street; you never know where it will lead. So be open to new ideas and ways of thinking—you might learn something interesting.
7. Respect differences of opinion.
It's okay to disagree with someone but do so respectfully. Avoid getting into an argument or raising your voice—it's not worth it.
8. Be a good listener.
Listening might seem like common sense, but it's worth repeating. A conversation is only as good as the listening that goes into it. So please pay attention to what the other person is saying and try to understand their point of view.
9. End on a positive note.
If you're not interested in continuing the conversation, that's okay—be polite when you end it. Thank the other person for their time and say goodbye in a friendly way.
The conversation is a lost art form in our society today.
We are so used to communicating through technology that we have forgotten how to talk to one another face-to-face. However, the conversation is still a meaningful way to build relationships and connect with others.
If you're unsure about starting or continuing a conversation, join us on our blog today for more tips.
At www.advancingyouthvoice.org, we believe that conversation is key to building strong communities and empowering young people.
So come, join the discussion!