Listening is an important skill which is used every time you have a conversation with someone, in class or even when you are watching a show or a movie. Listening is different from hearing and here are several ways you can listen actively instead of simply hearing what the other person is saying.

  1. Comprehend the message 

Usually, we wait for the other person to finish talking so that we can react but instead of waiting for an opportunity to fire back, we should fully understand what they are trying to say. Train your brain to process the information and remember it. Rather than sieve out what is not important to you, listen to the whole argument put forth and then judge based on your newfound understanding.

  1. Ask in-depth questions 

Sometimes people just need a listening ear so do not try to give advice or provide answers but try to get more information out of that person by asking them things like how they feel about the issue. Make sure to not make the entire conversation about you but give some air time for the other person to express what they think about the situation. 

  1. Concentrate on the ongoing conversation

Do not look at your watch or your phone while the other person is speaking. Not only is it very rude, it disheartens the other party when they realise you are not interested in anything they have to say. Especially when you are in class, you have to pay attention to what the teacher is saying and do not daydream because you might miss out on important details which might be useful to you. 

  1. Never interrupt 

Let the person you are talking to finish what they are saying first. This is basic courtesy and interrupting them would only derail them from their train of thought and cause unnecessary disruption to their speech. 

  1. Be silent 

You do not always have to give a reply. Instead, try staying silent and watch how the other person responds to  your silence. Are they squirming? Are they getting uneasy? Watch them and observe them as non-verbal cues can give you more information about them and you can assess the situation better from then on.

  1. Do not judge them so quickly 

Whatever stories they are telling you, you need to look at it from their perspective. Do not be so quick to assume and try to be as fair as possible to them by putting yourself in their shoes. Consider how their upbringing is different from yours and how the both of you are different individuals who might have a different mindset, and therefore, approach things differently. By keeping that in mind, you can be more compassionate and understanding. 

  1. Look at the way they are behaving

People can lie with their words but more often than not, they cannot lie with their eyes and body movement. If they are fidgeting a lot, you can tell that they are nervous. If they do not want to look you in the eye, perhaps, they might be hiding something. Not only that, you have to listen to how the words are being said such as their intonation, rhythm and the volume to find out the underlying meaning behind those words, According to, these things will probably tell you more about what the other party is trying to convey than even the words themselves. 

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