5 Ways to Become a Better Listener

Open minds hear more.

So far, 2020 has been rough. Just as our country began its recovery from a health pandemic, another social pandemic immediately swooped in, causing more turmoil and heartbreak.

It's crucial to use our voice to share our values and beliefs. But, at some point, we must listen to understand opposing viewpoints and find a solution together.

People of all ages are rallying to get their voices heard and to demand justice - it's inspiring to see the passion people have within them. It's crucial to use our voice to share our values and beliefs. However, at some point, we must listen to understand opposing viewpoints and find a solution together.

We should listen harder, especially to those who don't have the loudest voice. And despite our own beliefs, we should be open to hearing differing or opposing opinions. Segregation happens when we stop listening to the words of those who don't look, sound, or have the same beliefs.

Words are only the beginning of a message. Tone and volume are just as crucial in decoding a message. These two characteristics can often reveal more than the words spoken. And all you have to do is listen.

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No matter your race, gender, or profession, listening is an essential skill that will help you advance your personal and professional relationships. It will enhance your ability to understand others' motivations, thus making it easier to navigate tough conversations.

Most of us learned how to listen in grade school, but it's always a good idea to learn new ways to sharpen this very essential skill. And an even better idea to make it a habit. With no further ado, here are our top 5 tips to become a better listener.

1. Have an open mind

Set aside your biases for a minute and try to listen with a neutral ear. Yes, it's hard to ignore your inner voice, especially when your emotions are raging. But take a deep breath and give the other person a chance to share their viewpoint.

2. Minimize distractions

Make every effort to have tough conversations in a relatively quiet space with little disturbance and when you have ample time. When you're hurried to make a decision, your emotions may get the best of you. If you must, postpone having the talk until you can devote your full attention.

3. Listen to yourself

Before going into a conversation, think about your best outcome and how this aligns with your values and principles. Try not to let the beliefs of others - family, friends, or media - influence your opinion. It's easier to sway another person when you communicate with genuine passion, which comes easier when you defend your personal beliefs. Read this to strengthen your decision-making skills.

4. Aim to understand

Ask questions! Be curious about why someone did or believes a particular thing. Their reasons may surprise you and you may end up understanding them more. I've met people who've voted for a presidential candidate that I'm appalled by. But I'm genuinely curious about their choice for two reasons: I want to know if they know something I don't and it reveals a lot about their beliefs. So when I get the chance, I often ask, "Why did you vote for that person?"

5. Remember, everyone is human

At the end of the day, we all want love and acceptance. We may not agree with how other people get those two things, but knowing that we both want the same things helps us remember that our "enemy" is also human. This brings us back to our first point of listening with an open mind.

Change may not be apparent tomorrow, but the small waves we make today will create the tidal wave needed to create an equal society in the upcoming years

Our country is going through some significant historical changes. These big changes continue to test our courage - courage to raise our voice and courage to listen, especially when we disagree. Change may not be apparent tomorrow, but the small waves we make today will create the tidal wave needed to create an equal society in the upcoming years.

Need to strengthen your listening skills? Start using Leksi Text to Speech to listen to your articles, notes, or any document, no matter where you are.

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