“You never listen.” If that’s a phrase someone has ever said to you, I’m going share with you my secret hack to being a good listener.
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I’ve been told many times that I’m way quieter in person than what people may be used to seeing online.
I create YouTube videos and Facebook Live Streams where it’s my job to be talkative. That gives off the idea that I can chatter for hours.
But here’s the deal: I’m a deep listener. DEEP. I take the time to take in what is being said, whether it’s surface level conversation, or something very heartfelt.
Being A Good Listener When Your Mind is Busy
Listening is the human version of collecting valuable data in real time.
Let’s not get it twisted. As a busy mom of 3, my mind can easily wander. I have lots of spinning plates going at any moment.
This means listening can be a challenge for me, but I learned early on how to get my mind to really focus on a conversation. The reason it’s hard for most of us to focus? Leisure time.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top 3 things we spend time doing are:
- sleeping/personal care
- leisure activities
Work is last, y’all! Being a good listener is seen as work, and it’s work that doesn’t include US for the most part. We’re a little selfish, and that’s OK to acknowledge.
This will sound weird, but if we can use the fact that the top 2 things Americans do are selfish/self-care based to learn how to listen, we can all get better at this skill.
The Real Secret Is Reporting
Here’s how I worked on my craft of being a good listener: I pretend I’m a reporter.
Yup, it’s that easy…and that difficult.
Think about what a reporter does. They ask pertinent questions that require full sentence answers. They always ask follow-up questions. They LISTEN so they don’t miss the scoop.
They take notes. They direct the conversation. Reporters are ridiculous listeners. But, their listening is somewhat “selfish” based. They have to listen in order to produce the best articles.
How To Use This Listening Hack With Kids
I’m sure you have kids that love to talk already, but are you responding to them in an ingenius way?
Investigate. Ask them questions that they can’t avoid answering. I like to use the birthday questions to ask kids list to get my kids going with great conversation.
This is one of the ways I get my teenager to open up when I can tell he’s closing down. The questions help me to guide the conversation, while also giving him the freedom to share without judgement.
I focus on open-ended questions, and pretend like I’m creating an article about him later that day. I need enough information to develop the BEST write-up about this amazing teen.
How To Judge If The Listening Hack Is Working
The easy way to see if you are progressing with your listening reporter hack is to journal.
Like I mentioned earlier, reporters take notes. Journaling at the end of the day will help you see if your listening skills are improving.
If you can download most of what you learned from others that day into your journal, your brain is starting to do a better job of collecting data in real time.
I always have a paper journal or notebook available, but I also use the Five Minute Journal app to get my mind to focus in the morning and at night.
If you want to grab a new journal to use for your building your listening skill, here are some great journals available at Target.
Being a good listening is a superpower
I hope this hack helps you become a better listener to those in your family, your friends, and even your co-workers.
It’s pretty simple, but once you start to apply it to your everyday conversations, you’ll see a big difference in how you retain information and how people respond to you.