When people speak, do you listen, really, listen? Most people don’t. Instead they just wait until it’s their turn to speak. In relationships, communication is the most important factor in either keeping afloat or sinking. Here are 20 tips on how you can become a better listener or communicate better.

20. Do not answering your phone, retrieve or respond texts, shut off the computer, and turn off the TV. Despite what you may think, you cannot do two things at once well. And listening to what someone is saying should be your only priority.

19. Besides distractions causing people not to be able to listen to the person who is talking is the fact that sometimes we don’t talk directly to the person we want to speak too. We talk through other people or for other people, and what tends to happen is that the listener gets a mixed message.

18. If you plan on having a conversation with someone, one of the worse things you can do is dance around the issues you want to discuss in fear of hurting feelings or looking bad. No one is a mind reader! There’s a way to have an uncomfortable conversation without lashing out at the person you are talking too. Remember, how can you fix a situation if you don’t get the nerve to talk?

17. To become a better listener requires you to actually not be the one to do all the talking. Let the other person do the talking as well.

16. To break the ice with someone, use a means of communication that you are comfortable with. This helps loosen tensions and also helps you start the conservation.

15. Before cell phones or even telephones, people use to talk face to face. If you want to become a better listener you need to be able to read a person’s body language and you can’t do that on the phone.

14. Of course to get your point across sometimes the best thing to do is write it down. A letter is a great way of having someone “listen” to what you are feeling or wanting to say because here they have to actually focus in on what you wrote and they don’t get to interrupt your train of thought.

13. Know the signs of either changing the subject, moving on, or changing your tone. This starts with you. If you find your voice getting louder, step outside yourself and realize that the person you are talking to may start to get defensive. If you quickly change your tone you will save yourself from having an argument.

12. Screaming at someone isn’t going to help your cause at all. How can anyone listen to you if you are yelling?

11. This is more for the men out there than the women. Men seem to make big promises and then fail to keep them. If you are going to say things, live up to them. Because if you keep saying one thing and doing another no one is going to want to listen to you anymore.

10. You can use social media to your advantage when it comes to practicing listening. Again, it goes back to reading a letter. You need to read every word and let it stink in before you respond. So many people just like to make noise instead of making actual conversation online.

9. If you want the well rounded relationship, being able to communicate and listen are the two most important puzzle pieces.

8. If you have ineffective communication skills, the cycle will keep going until you fix the problems. And most likely this means that you lack good listening skills.

7. How can you expect someone to know what you feel, want, or need or you don’t speak up? Mind readers don’t exist. You can’t expect someone to want to listen to you if you never give them anything worth listening too.

6. It’s eye to eye not an eye for an eye when learning to listen! Use your ears, use your eyes, and focus on the person you are talking too.

5. A great listener knows when to take a break, enjoy the silence and then speak up. There’s nothing nothing with thinking about what you want to say before you say it. The smart listeners know how to throw the ball in the other person’s court. Silence = Listening

4. Great listeners pay attention and ask questions until they gain a deep and textured understanding of whatever situations they find themselves in. But in no certain terms do they disrespect someone’s point of view.

3. If you can’t listen to someone for whatever reason, take a time out. Tell them that right now it’s not a good time. If you want someone to want to listen to you, then you need to respect them when it comes to giving them your time and effort to listen.

2. Sometimes a great opportunity to talk your partner is when you are laying in bed together. Snuggle up and just have a conversation. You will be more in tuned to listen when you are laying close to each other.

1. Sometimes you talk just to hear yourself talk. When that happens you know that the other person isn’t putting forth the effort to really listen to what you are saying. Know when to retreat and return to a conversation at a later time. You’ll save yourself the aggravation.

The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.

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