8 signs you’re a great listener (and why it’s an essential skill)

Do people often tell you that you’re a great listener? If you answered yes, that’s awesome!

Being able to listen well is an essential skill: whether you’re communicating with family, friends, or your partner, we all want to feel heard.

Here are 8 signs you’re a great listener…to help you find out if there’s more you could do for your loved ones!

Let’s jump in.

1) You show positive body language

First up on the list: you show positive body language every time you’re having a conversation with someone. 

This is a sign that you’re enjoying their company. That’s why it also means you’re a great listener – it’s not just about paying attention to what they say!

Here are some examples of positive body language:

  • Leaning forward
  • Making eye contact
  • Nodding to show your interest

To begin with, leaning forward is an important way to show that you’re engaged. That’s because the other person will feel like you’re literally drawn into the conversation, and towards them!

This helps to assure them that they’re not boring you and that you’re actually listening to what they’re saying. Which is a good thing…

And what about making eye contact? Well, it goes without saying! 

Just like leaning forward, it lets the other party see that you’re not distracted by anything else in the room.

It’s the same thing with nodding your head to show your interest; of course, don’t go overboard, though. 

You should only nod at points in the conversation that excite you, or which you agree with!

And this leads me to my next point…

2) You ask questions (the right ones)

…which is that you never fail to ask questions. Well, the right ones, anyway. 

Let’s be honest: we all like talking about ourselves. But it doesn’t have to be a bad thing, or a sign of being self-centered.

In fact, research has shown that asking questions helps us develop stronger bonds with others. In turn, making conversations that much more exciting

When you ask the right ones, it shows that you’re listening. In addition, you’re always prepared to keep the conversation going.

Here’s an example of what it means to ask the right questions:

For example, you meet up with a friend who recently started their own business. And they’re extremely excited to share their experience…

Even if it isn’t in an industry that interests you, you’d still make an effort to show your friend that you care.

And so, you’d probably start off by saying:

“It’s so nice to hear that you’re doing something you’re passionate about! When did you come up with this idea?”

3) You wait for the other person to finish talking

The next sign that you’re a great listener is that you never interrupt. And you always wait for the other person to finish speaking…

Sometimes, we get too engrossed in a conversation and can’t help but speak over the other person.

Well, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world if you do that. In fact, I’m sometimes guilty of this when I’m hanging out with a friend after a long time!

The most important thing is to remember to pace yourself: here’s where being a great listener comes in.

When you’re truly paying attention to what the other person is saying, it’s easy to follow the flow of the conversation and figure out when it’s your turn to speak.

4) You focus on the present 

And that’s why I want to talk about focusing on the present. In fact, this is another sign that you’re a great listener…

Let me explain.

When you put aside all distractions from the previous part of your day and give your full attention to the other person, it makes them feel special.

That’s why it’s an essential skill. Like I mentioned earlier, it brings you closer to the people you love!

Focusing on the present doesn’t always have to mean being in a state of “zen”. It’s more so the fact that you aren’t thinking of too many things at once.

This is why so many people get distracted during conversations – they can’t prioritize, or maybe they’re just too busy to make time for others!

5) You show curiosity about people 

Another thing I want to talk about is showing curiosity. If you’re a great listener, you’re naturally curious about others…

And that’s because you seek to learn more about other people, whether they’re your loved ones or just strangers.

You want to know what makes them tick, what makes them smile, and what makes them think. It all fascinates you, as if you were a student of mankind!

Here’s an example of what it means to show curiosity about people:

You go deep into the conversation and ask questions that may or may not surprise them! And you both come out of it having learnt something new.

Of course, don’t make it weird. What I mean is that you probe them further by:

  • Asking why they’re experiencing a difficulty (they might be willing to share)
  • Finding out why they came to a specific conclusion (they might want another opinion)
  • Sharing your experiences to find a point of discussion (they might want to change their point of view)
  • Reassuring them that their concerns are valid (they might be looking for a trustworthy friend)

6) You always give honest feedback 

Now let’s talk about this next sign that you’re a great listener: you always give feedback. 

And it’s honest!

First things first, you’re not the kind of person to agree with someone just for the sake of it. 

That’s not a part of being a great listener; instead, you listen closely with the intention of giving a well-thought-out response!

You’re also not afraid to rock the boat, even if you have to pose a difficult question – I mentioned this in my previous point.

For you, your honesty comes out of a curiosity towards others…and you want to share your thoughts because they might be able to help someone!

Of course, though, remember to be courteous. You can start off by showing understanding when giving feedback:

“I completely understand why you feel that way. However, have you considered looking at this situation in another way?”

7) You never, ever pass judgment 

All that said, you never, ever pass judgment in conversations. That’s just not how you roll.

Here’s why it’s important to never do it, no matter how tempted you can get: it might hurt the other person deeply, much more than you can imagine.

Let me explain why.

For example, you’re speaking to a friend who’s just come out of a bad relationship and you find out that she’s dating someone new. A guy who’s JUST like her ex-boyfriend.

You may be tempted to judge her, to ask her why she’s putting herself in a bad situation again.

Maybe that friend of yours isn’t aware of what she’s doing. And yet, you can’t deny that she’s been annoying, telling the same story over and over again.

I get it – trust me. I’ve been on both sides of the situation. And it’s hard to navigate!

This is where being a great listener comes in: you listen closely to what your friend is saying for clues on how she’s REALLY feeling.

Let me give you a quick example.

Maybe this friend talks about her new boyfriend with a feeling of uncertainty. She uses the word “but” a lot and makes comparisons with other men. 

She may even talk about her ex-boyfriend favorably in some instances!

And here’s how you can respond:

“I see that you’re feeling a bit uncertain about whether this man is good for you. Do you want to talk about it? I promise I won’t judge.”

8) You can put yourself in other people’s shoes

Last but not least, a sign that you’re a great listener is that you put yourself in other people’s shoes.

Like I mentioned in my previous point, it means you pick up on subtle cues in the things that people say.

This is what allows you to empathize with them and see past what’s on the surface…

It also prevents you from jumping to conclusions, which can make or break an interaction. And no one wants that.

Good communication requires understanding from both parties, after all.

Here’s an added bonus about being a great listener: you’re someone people gravitate to, because you radiate trustworthiness!

More importantly, people know that they’re safe to express their truest selves with you – no matter how embarrassing!

Conclusion

So, we’ve now covered some signs that you’re a great listener! Have you learnt anything new about the way you interact with others?

Remember, it isn’t that hard to pick up this essential skill! Just remember to:

  • Have a genuine curiosity about people
  • Be observant and act accordingly
  • Help others be their best selves

If you already do these three things, then rest assured you’re on the right track! 

Juliana Mei

Juliana Mei

Juliana Mei is a content writer and marketer who's passionate about finding the best way to position your brand to your audience. She finds joy in art, music and literature, and most importantly, through writing, which she hopes to inspire others by.

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