1. They use good body language
Make direct eye contact and put your torso and shoulders in his direction. Give him your undivided attention and focus to show that you’re invested in the dialogue.
2. They watch for nonverbal cues
Pay attention to the speaker’s expressions and body language. Nonverbal clues are just as important as verbal ones.
3. They don’t interrupt
Let your partner say what’s on his mind freely and finish his own sentences. If you really have something important to say or need some clarification on something, jot it down to ask the person when he pauses.
4. They resist the urge to offer solutions
Being an active listener means you’re allowing your friend to get out his emotions in a healthy way, without trying to fix the problem. If he wants to hear your opinions, he’ll ask for them.
5. They ensure that questions don’t steer the conversation off topic
When you realize that a conversation has gone off-topic, steer it back to the original one.
6. They take notes
If you’re at work, jotting down some key information may help you remember what you discussed in a conversation. Even if you don’t look at the notes again, the act of writing them down can help you remember the information better.
7. They show empathy
By showing that you’re feeling what the speaker is feeling, you’re being an effective listener. This doesn’t mean, though, that you have to agree with everything he says. You can say something like “I see”, smile or nod to show you’re listening without taking sides.
8. They’re open-minded
Take in everything he’s saying. Turn off your inner voice and put aside your opinions and beliefs so you can hear what’s being spoken to you.
9. They think before they speak
After the speaker is done, take a few seconds to come up with a response, if any. Consider if you can offer input that’s valuable or if you should just ask follow-up questions.