The most significant skill to develop is how to be a good listener. Being a good listener doesn't mean being a shoulder for people to cry on. A good listener is someone who lets the speaker know he/she's listening. Here's what being a good listener can do for you:
You get more facts
With good listening skills, you can learn more and get more information. With more information, you also understand the situation better.
You don't waste time"just listening"
Pretending to listen or barely absorbing any information is just a waste of time. Instead, listen fully and seek more information to make the most use of your time.
You are seen as an intelligent and successful person
By listening fully, the speaker will also appreciate your attention and will see you as an intelligent and successful person. All intelligent and successful people have good listening skills.
You will be caring and likeable
This has been said many times over and over, but it is one of the most important reasons for being a good listener. These traits can create a relationship and bond with the speaker.
Being a good listener requires more than just listening. Here are some expert method to how you can have good listening skills:
Say encouraging words
I'm listening, tell me more, hmm, go on. Those are examples of encouraging words to tell the speaker that you're listening and you care.
Give your full attention
Look at the speaker's eye. Do not wander looking at something else, even for a split second. If you get nervous looking at someone, you may look away to an inatimate object as if you're profoundly thinking about the speaker's words.
Repeat key words
"7 on Friday. Got that". Repeat back bits of their words. Don't make them feel like they're talking to a doll.
Ask for repetition or clarifiation
For any parts that you dozed off, don't understand, or think is important, ask them about it. Do not wait till a minute later when you don't understand anything that he/she is desribing. If there is an important point that requires your interest, ask them to confirm what you heard. For example, "9 on Friday?".
Ask for their opinion
When the speaker describes something that happened to him/her, ask what he/she felt about. Let the speaKer know that he/she is important and that you care about what he/she is talking about.
Write down notes
I'm not telling you to write down everything they say as if you were attending a class. Write down key points and if you need time to write it down, ask them to pause for a second. Make sure you remember what was being discussed and ask the speaker to resume.