How to be a better listener

Strategist and coach Zoë B offers five ways to boost your listening skills.

  1. Wait your turn to talk. Talking over people sends the message you don’t care about what they’re saying.
  2. Let others finish their own sentences. Research shows it makes people feel powerless because you’ve taken control of the conversation.
  3. Paraphrase what you’ve heard before you give your two cents. This shows the other person you’ve heard her and understand. Also, if you’ve misunderstood, it gives her a chance to clarify before the misunderstanding leads to bigger problems.
  4. Be an active listener. Engage and respond throughout the conversation.
  5. Keep good eye contact. It shows the other person you’re interested in what he’s saying.

— Adapted from “5 Ways to Improve Your Com­mu­­ni­­ca­­tion Skills,” Zoë B,