Category Archives: Listening Skills Tips

The Listening Pause

One of the simplest ways to improve the quality of your conversation skills and to create much better rapport with people is to make a point of using the listening pause. What`s that?

Very often when we make conversation we are paying attention to who is speaking while holding in mind what we want to say next when its our turn to talk. Then, we dive in when the other person pauses for breath! This is especially true when we are in a hurry or when we need to cover a lot of ground in just a few minutes.

However this jumping into the conversation even if its normal behaviour disrespects whoever we are talking to. By our actions we are demonstrating that we are listening only long enough to get an opportunity to speak. This can create a tension in the conversation with each person competing for air time. And that`s why the listening pause is so important…

The listening pause is easy to apply. When you are listening to someone who is talking to you. Give 100% attention to what is being said. And, when this person stops talking wait 3 seconds before speaking up. Do this and you will often find the other person is not finished talking. He will often continue what he was talking about. Again, pause for 3 seconds before saying anything and only when the other person does not continue talking do you want to speak up.

When you use the listening pause you will see several immediate positive changes in your interactions with people. Firstly, they will know you are actually listening to what is being said and because of that they will feel appreciated and respected. Secondly, people will warm to you because so many people are not listened to. Thirdly, when you start speaking the other person is very likely to reciprocate and listen to you as attentively as you did for him.

All of these positive changes facilitate a great conversation based on mutual respect and attention. Great friendships and happy relationships can quickly develop in such an environment.

All you need to do now is to remember to pause for 3 seconds before you speak up when it is your turn to speak in a conversation. I simply count out 3 seconds in my head while looking at the other person and waiting in case he starts to speak some more. Start right away and notice how delighted it makes your friends and family members when you care enough to listen to what they want to say to you.

How To Get People To Listen

Getting attention and knowing how to get people to listen is a big issue for many people even though there is a simple often overlooked solution. Once you know the basis of all good conversation you know how to keep people listening…

All good conversation is story telling.

Yes, when you meet friends, family and new people everyone is looking for the same thing. They all want to have an entertaining, interesting conversation. Most of the time this means you will make a great impression when you bring up interesting topics of conversation told in the form of a story.

For example let`s say a new hotel has just opened in your city. One way to mention this is to give the facts and the statistics – it is a 5 Star hotel with 200 rooms, a gym, great views of the skyline and a roof top restaurant.

That is not the way I`d introduce that news as a topic of conversation. I`d tell a story…

“On Tuesday evening last night a little after 8pm I was walking down Main street with Lisa when we spotted unusual red lights way down the street. We had some time to kill before meeting her sister so we walked a few more blocks until those red lights got closer and closer. We still didn`t know what the lights were about.

Anyway, we got to the building and noticed that “the beautiful people” were everywhere looking cool. And those red lights were all around the building. Very unusual.

Its a hotel but it doesn`t look like any hotel I`ve ever seen. As you walk up to the entrance its more like walking into a cross between a really weird art gallery and a European late night bar.

We walked in and ended up talking to the manager. Very nice guy. He even gave us a tour of the bar and restaurant before taking us up in the elevator to the roof. What a view! You can see right across the city from up there.

I was impressed. This is a very unusual hotel. I`ve never seen anything like it.”

Notice how I shared a news item without making it sound like a news broadcast. I shared very few facts. I would share more information if the person I`m talking to asks me to tell them more. First I need to get their attention to see if they have any interest in that subject. Story telling is the best way to do that.

How To Be A Great Story Teller That Gets People To Listen

1. Build up a portfolio of great stories

I have many stories I tell again and again when I meet different people. When I meet new people these stories are new to them so its okay to recycle my old favourites. And, the more you tell a great story the better it gets. You can relax because you already know what you are going to say.

Forget about being original with everyone you meet. The best conversationalists I have ever met and learned from all share one key characteristic. they all have a stock of great stories they tell with enthusiasm and passion. They`ve told these stories so many times they look like masters of conversation. The truth is that practice makes perfect.

2. Always be on the look out for new and interesting stories

We live in such fast changing times that there are amazing new developments almost everyday of the week. Share these news items as stories and you`ll find people are interested to hear what you have to say.

Listen to local radio and visit web sites that cover your city to keep up to date with local news that could be interesting to your friends and family. You need to keep your eyes and ears open to pick up new conversation fuel or you`ll run out of things to say when you meet people.

3. Read good stories

What makes for an interesting story? Its the way you tell it as much as the story itself. Learn from great story tellers, copy their approach and you`ll find other people are a lot more interested in hearing your story.

Read good fiction to develop your conversation skills. Pay attention to how stories unfold and you`ll see how many, many conversation topics can be interesting as long as you know how to tell a good story.

4. Always focus on the human element

Talk about local news and what is happening in your community, talk about amazing new technologies or discuss the latest cool electronics gadget. That`s all good but remember to tell a story rather than merely share facts and figures.

The best way to keep it interesting is to focus on the people behind the news item. Talk about the mad genius who worked through the night to create the latest space age cell phone. Mention the 11 year old prodigy who figured out how the city can save millions by reconfiguring the computer systems that run city hall.

The people behind the facts are always much more interesting that what they did as long as we get to hear about how they think and how they live. Magazines and interviews are good sources for profiles about these people who shape the world we live in. If you read about their work pay close attention to the description of their personality and work style. Later this will be the basis for your story about their breakthrough.

Now, get out there and tell stories that entertain people and leave them eager to hear more.