Odds are you’re a pretty awful listener—but it’s not totally your fault. We spend most of our lives focused on speaking, from being coached on our first “mama” or “dada” to learning how to give an oral presentation in high school. With such an emphasis on talking, it’s no surprise that most of us fail to master the other half of conversation: listening. This video from The School of Life fills in the gap by explaining four things that good listeners do.
1. They egg people on.
Simply saying “go on” is usually enough. This forces a conversation to go deeper than just an exchange of anecdotes.
2. They urge clarification.
Pushing someone to clarify what they’re talking about leads to greater understanding for both the listener and the speaker.
3. They don’t moralize.
They encourage vulnerability and indicate they can be trusted with the other person’s deepest feelings, failures, and irrational thoughts.
4. They separate disagreement from criticism.
It’d be foolish (and boring) to agree with every single person on every single topic. Good listeners make it clear they still like and respect the other person, even when they disagree.