How to be a good listener


Hello, Psych2goers. We all hope you had a nice start in 2021. In this article, we are going to learn more about the traits of being a good listener. How is a good listener like? Do you know one in your life? The following points may give you a better idea of being a good listener.

1. Pay attention

The most significant feature is to be attentive and engaged with the speaker and the whole conversation. Subtle body language, such as nodding, making eye contact and leaning forward create a difference to someone who’s sharing their feelings (Melbourne Child Psychology & School Psychology Services, n.d.).

2. Stay silent

As you start listening, you are in a position of understanding another person’s situation. What background were they in? What actually happened in their experiences? The speaker will usually tell you more information about their episodes once they know you are ready by giving them space (Melbourne Child Psychology & School Psychology Services, n.d.).

3. Refrain from solutions

We might have all been there, but suggesting a solution is not too helpful to the speaker who’s dealing with the situation. Most of the time, speakers only want to let their emotions out in front of a listener, but they are not asking for solutions from the listener (Melbourne Child Psychology & School Psychology Services, n.d.).

4. Be cautious with personal experiences

Being empathetic in conversations is another key to become a good listener. However, there might be cases that the speaker is sharing the same experiences you had before. You might somehow overcome it, but the speaker hasn’t. You may use your own experiences to show your relation to the event with the speaker, but similar to the previous point, try to avoid suggesting solutions that worked for you since they might not work well for them (Curtis, 2019)

5. Ask correctly

When people are sharing their situations with you, it is crucial to show your concern in the right way. For example, questions with “What” and “How” are more likely to carry out meaningful conversations. However, questions with “Why” may make the respondent feel forced to come up with an explanation when they perhaps may not have one (Breazeale, 2011).

6. Be reflective

The act of listening does not necessarily equal hearing. It includes interpreting the speaker’s messages. A useful way is to keep track of the conversation is by repeating and clarifying what the speaker has said so that you fully understand what is going on in their world (UNSW Teaching Staff Gateway, 2019).

7. Show your support

Speakers tell you their events because they trust you. We all have our daily situations and struggles and it can be challenging to open up our feelings to someone else. As speakers see you as listeners, you can appreciate their trust and courage by showing them support through conversations (Curtis, 2019).


How did you think of the points above? Are you ready to become a better listener this year? Let us know in the comments!


Breazeale, R. (2011, November 22). Being A Good Listener, Effective communication is one of the keys to building resilience. Psychology Today.

Curtis, K. (2019, October 1). 19: Seven Steps to be a Better Listener. [Manuscript submitted for publication]. Who Cares About Men’s Health? University of Utah.

Melbourne Child Psychology & School Psychology Services. (n.d.). How to Become a Better Listener.

UNSW Teaching Staff Gateway. (2019, July 9). Reflective Listening.

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