A Lesson Everyone Could Learn: How to Listen Better

The problem with social media is sometimes we can be so focused on what we want to say that we are not focusing on what others are saying.

Listening is a difficult skill. Online or offline, listening requires us to focus on what we are hearing or reading, not in how we want to respond. Most people are not actively listening, they are passively listening and deciding how to reply. It’s similar to taking notes during a class, if you are writing down what is being said you are not actually listening, considering and learning.

The hardest part of listening is often relearning how to listen. We all think we are doing it, but most likely you are not. In 2014 many people have the attention span of a gnat. How do you relearn the skill of being a good listener?

Focus on the person who is speaking and what they are saying, what their words are, the meaning behind them. If you focus in this way and truly consider those words, their meaning, and actively try to hear each word and intonation, you will find you understand faster and save a lot of time in many areas of life. This can even remove the word “What?” from your vocabulary.

Online, listening is a little different, it means that you are actually watching. tracking in preparation for interacting with your community. Use tools like Google Alerts, Twitter Searches and Hootsuite to monitor for topics of interest. This helps you keep up on what is going on and also to discover new people to connect to.

Online listening also means making lists to keep track of your community. Online listening can get overwhelming when you are trying to watch too many individuals, so breaking your community into smaller groups by interest, category or even time zones, helps to not miss something important they have to say that you might want to respond to.

What other measures do you take to be a better listener and community member? Tell us in the comments below.

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