It is no secret that people often need to be involved in a conversation of some sort as part of their work, and/or family and social life. So, that means talking part of the time, and then listening to what they have to say. For most people, being able to talk and hold up their end of the conversation is easy; it can be the listening that is not so easy.

So, here are some tips regarding good listening. One very common mistake is not staying focused on the talker. If your eyes glaze over, your eyes drift about the room, and it is clear that you are not paying attention, the other person is going to be insulted.

Next, be sure to let the person have their say. If you are interrupting them constantly that is yet another insult to them. On top of that, it breaks up their train of thought and makes it hard for them to stay on subject. Now, on the other hand, if you do not contribute to the conversation by asking questions, offering ideas and statements of your own that tells the other person that you are not paying attention to what they are saying; that you do not care about what they think. Along the same lines as this point, you need to speak to them with respect. If you speak with a lot of sarcasm and belittle what they have to say, this isn't being a good listener.

When participating in a conversation, you also need to show the other person common decent respect. This means, you sit up straight, you arrive on time and dressed nicely, and you (if a man) are clean shaven. If this is a job interview, have a resume and references ready. If you are interviewing the person as part of an article or report, then have a pad to make notes or a tape recorder. It is important that the person sees that you are going to take accurate notes.

Part of being a good listener is also being a good host; if (in fact) you are the person sponsoring the talk. So, have water for the other person to drink, and maybe some snacks. Being a good listener also means giving the speaker the means of speaking in comfort. Think about where the talk is taking place. Do you need places to sit? Is the person who is talking too hot or too cold? If you are involved in a very long conversation, maybe you need to take a break from time to time.

Another common mistake you can make as a listener is going off on a tangent. That is, the speaker says something that reminds you of something else, some other subject, and you jump in with a comment on that other subject. This can lead to the speaker being confused as to what you are talking about, and even insulted that you seem to be trying to move the conversation away from what they were talking about before they were done. You then have to take time to make clear that that was not the case, which in turn wastes more time. This all goes back to the item mentioned above about staying focused on the subject matter.

One final aspect on the subject of being focused on what the speaker says is being able to paraphrase back what you have learned from them. If you are unable to do that, it is a sign that you have not been listening. This again is not being a good listener. So, follow a few simple rules and you will be on your way to keeping any speaker you deal with happy.

Author's Bio: 

Peter Murphy is a peak performance expert. He recently produced a very popular free report: 10 Simple Steps to Developing Communication Confidence. Apply now because it is available for a limited time only at: communication skills