Life Balance: Tips on Becoming a Better Listener

Brown metal sculpture with the word listen; blue sky
Credit: Nick Fewings in

Tips on Becoming a Better Listener

Improving Communication to Enhance Your Life

by J.M. Troppello

I have always been better at listening than speaking.

Sure, I know how to speak correctly. As a teenager, I used to constantly correct my siblings when they didn’t speak grammatically correctly. That didn’t go over so well! I stopped doing that!

However, as an adult, I’ve always gravitated more toward listening than speaking. I think that has been a huge factor in enhancing my writing through the years.

Yet, there is always room to grow—through personal development—for everyone.

“To survive and even thrive in a changing world, nature offers another great lesson: the survivors are those who at the least adapt to change, or even better learn to benefit from change and grow intellectually and personally. That means careful listening and constant learning.” – Frances Arnold

The following are some tips I’ve learned along the way on how to become a better listener.

1. Listen More than You Speak

I like to talk, but not in group settings. Yet, I’ve found that it’s important to listen more than you speak. Sure, you probably have a lot to say. However, if you want to develop deeper relationships beyond the superficial level, you need to become a better listener.

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” – Bryant H. McGill

Don’t interrupt people. Never talk over someone. Create a balanced exchange of ideas. As you lead this way in the conversation, the other person will likely follow.

2. Eye Contact is Vital

Maintaining eye contact during your conversation is so important when trying to cultivate deeper relationships. When you don’t look at someone while you’re talking to them, that signifies you’re bored, nervous, or have something to hide.

Don’t scroll through your social media news feed on your phone and think that you can still be respectful during a conversation. Be present in the moment. Be mindful of the situation. Value the person you are talking to and take their time seriously.

3. Use Positive Body Language

Body language is a vital part of positive and effective communication. Refrain from crossing your arms, showing that you’re blocked off and aren’t too interested in the conversation.

Most people can read your body language. They might not be able to pinpoint all the subtle cues and expressions. Yet, your overall attitude will be noticeable by them.

4. Talk with an Open Mind

Our world is so polarized. Many people are on different sides. Politics is a hot topic in all areas of life. Make a concerted effort to talk to someone with an open mind.

It’s a given that you won’t agree with everyone. However, if you want to have positive interactions with people, you need to remain civil and open-minded.

That doesn’t mean that you will be easily swayed by the other person’s point of view.

It simply means that you have a desire to listen to other perspectives. You want to give other people a chance to speak. This will cultivate more positive and productive interactions.

5. Be Humble

A big part of personal growth is developing humility. You need to be humble in order to see your flaws—and to want to change. Otherwise, you’ll keep going on your way without ever thinking you need to change.

Bringing humility into your conversations can help to enhance the way you interact with other people. When you’re wrong, be open to admitting it. That will go a long way toward improving your own self-growth and enhancing your personal and professional relationships.

Start Developing Better Listening Skills Today

These five tips can help you develop better listening skills today. You can take this free online communication quiz from to identify your communication expertise level.

Listen more than you speak and maintain good eye contact. Always use positive body language. Talk with an open mind and be humble.


About the Author

J.M. Troppello at Mustard Seed Sentinel

J.M. Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel.

Connect with the author on Twitter. You can find her on these social media channels—Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Spreely, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Clouthub. Visit the Mustard Seed Sentinel YouTube Channel. Visit MSS Live Well Corner and our Ko-Fi MSS Community.