How to Become a Better Listener

Claire Ritter

By Claire Ritter

Est. Reading Time: 14 Mins

How to Become a Better Listener

A healthy conversation requires good speakers and good listeners. Becoming a good listener is crucial for lots of aspects in life. You’ll find this skill useful when speaking to anyone in any type of situation, ranging anywhere from romantic to professional.

If you’re unable to be a good listener, no one will want to talk to you because what’s the point of talking to someone if you’re not being heard.

Why Do We Listen?

To become a good listener, it is beneficial to understand why we listen. Having a good understanding of the reason why you do something will help you accomplish your goal more easily, and with better results, so the first step in becoming a good listener is comprehending why you listen in the first place.

  • To communicate with someone. You listen to someone in order to establish some sort of communication between you and them. It is a crucial part of communicating.
  • To understand someone. You need to listen to fully understand what they are saying. Listen attentively to truly pick up what they are telling you.
  • To get information. Listening to other people gives you information that could be useful depending on what they are saying.

How to Be a Good Listener

Becoming a better listener steps.
Becoming a better listener steps.

To be a good listener, you need to make sure you are practicing the following:

Eye contact.

It’s common courtesy to look someone in the eyes when they speak to you because it shows that you are attentively listening to them. When you look elsewhere, it makes you seem like you aren’t paying attention, making it seem like you’re not listening.

Engage in the conversation.

This is a great way to make sure the other person knows you listen. You will definitely seem like you are listening by responding to what they are saying and contributing to the conversation.

Focus on what the person is saying.

Paying attention while having a conversation is very important. If you don’t pay attention, you can’t participate in the conversation, and if you can’t participate in the conversation, then it’s not really a conversation. By focusing throughout the conversation, you will show you are a good listener.

Don’t use your phone while being spoken to.

Using your phone while you are being spoken to shows you are not listening, or at least not listening to your full potential. You are partially, if not completely, distracted when you are using your phone while someone is talking to you, so you want to avoid doing so.

Don’t interrupt the person who is speaking to you.

Interrupting the person speaking to you could make it seem like you’re not really listening to them because you’re not waiting for them to be done speaking, and you’re just talking over them. It could also make you seem uninterested in what they say because you just want to get to what you want to talk about.

These things reflect poorly on your listening skills because when you are a good listener, you are patient and wait your turn to speak, so the other person feels respected and heard.

Advantages of Being a Good Listener

Good listener advantages.
Good listener advantages.

Being a good listener has many advantages, such as really getting to know the person you are speaking to or becoming someone people want to talk to about their life with. Learn more about the advantages of being a good listener below.

You’ll get to know more about every person.

By being a good listener, you will learn a lot more about the person you are talking to. They will feel more inclined to share more about themselves with you because if you’re really listening, you care.

People will want to share about their day with you.

When you’re not a good listener, no one wants to talk to you, and they definitely don’t care to share how their day went with you because they feel as if you don’t care about that. However, if you are a good listener, they will feel you care to know how their day went, and they’ll want to tell you about it.

You will build real connections.

Being a good listener allows for good conversations to flourish. Through good and real conversations, you build true connections with people. This is why it’s important to be a good listener, you will be able to establish true friendships and lasting relationships with a solid base.

Disadvantages of Not Being a Good Listener

On the flip side, if you’re not a good listener, you will be faced with the following disadvantages:

People will avoid sharing their life with you.

If the people you speak to feel like you are not listening to them, they will not want to share their lives with you. You need to make people feel heard, so they want to continue talking to you.

You may face misunderstandings.

Lack of listening skills could lead to misunderstandings and confusion. You might not get the correct information, or confuse certain details that could be important.

You may hurt someone’s feelings.

Some people might brush it off if they can tell you’re not listening, or they might call you out for it in an attempt to get your attention, but others might strongly dislike that you aren’t listening to them when they are speaking to you, and it will hurt their feelings.

Ideally, you want to do everything possible to not hurt someone else’s feelings, so try to be a good listener.

It will affect your communication negatively.

A conversation is made up of a good speaker and a good listener, so if you are not a good listener, your communication with people will not be good.

Reasons Why Some People Are Bad Listeners

Self-centered people.

Some people only care about themselves, and what they have to say, so they will be horrible listeners for that reason. There is little you can do about people like this, perhaps avoiding having conversations with them is best.

They are easily distracted.

This may not be intentional, some people have disorders that make it hard for them to concentrate, but this still affects their listening skills, making them bad listeners. If they’re easily distracted, try to help them redirect their attention back to the conversation or keep what you’re saying short and to the point.

Especially if it’s not their intention to get distracted, helping them concentrate will allow you to share what you want to share with them and for them to listen to you successfully.

Lack of interest.

This could mean they lack interest in the person, or perhaps they have a lack of interest in what they are talking about. Whichever it may be, this is a popular reason why some people are not good listeners.

Understanding Nonverbal Cues

Picking up on nonverbal cues is another form of listening. A nonverbal cue is something the person communicates without directly saying it or without using words. Understanding and identifying nonverbal cues will help you become a good listener. The following are some of the most popular nonverbal cues you will come across.

Tone of voice.

The tone of voice someone speaks in can tell you a lot. Especially if you know the person you are speaking to well, you are sure to differentiate between their different tones with ease. If you are close with this person, you know what it means if their voice is a little higher, lower, faster, slower, etc. 

Body language.

This is another big non-verbal cue you should be paying attention to. Although you can’t hear body language, it will impact what you perceive about the person, and body language can communicate a lot.

By paying attention to someone’s body language, you will be able to determine if they are comfortable or uncomfortable, happy, sad, mad, or excited, just to name a few of the emotions that can be identified through someone’s body language. 


Their mood sort of encompasses a lot of different nonverbal cues. You might be able to tell their mood through their tone of voice, how fast or slow they are talking, and through their body language and facial expressions.

Through a combination of all of these, you will be able to determine what the person’s mood is, and by doing that, you are observing and listening differently. 


As you can see, listening is important for many reasons. You need to keep those reasons in mind and be aware of what you do during a conversation to ensure you are being a good listener when others are talking to you.

Make sure you make eye contact while they are talking to you, remain attentive throughout the conversation, and don’t do things like interrupt the speaker or look at your phone while you are being spoken to. This will allow you to get to know people better, build stronger friendships, and inspire people to share more with you.

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