Hearing is passive, while listening is an active process.
Top tips for improving listening skills include:
- Focus with your eyes on the person speaking
- Think about what they are saying
- If your attention wanders, consciously bring it back to what is being said
- Make mental notes of key points
- Make written notes - but don't attempt to write everything down
- Practise repeating back to yourself the gist of what has been said
- Make affirmative nods of the head, to acknowledge that you're listening
By concentrating solely on the speaker while you listen, whether they are there in person or even on the phone, will help encourage your active listening. This in turn will help you concentrate on what is being said, and make it easier to retain.
The more you do it, the easier active listening will become!