Practice listening and reading non-verbal signals during conversations
Engage in conversation with someone
Focus on listening to the speaker and watching their non-verbal communication when they are speaking
Their words, demeanor, etc.
Focus on listening to yourself and watching the non-verbal responses of the other person when you are speaking
Listening and watching non-verbal communication is not just something you should do when someone else is talking; it’s also what you should do while you are talking. Is the other person indicating any real interest in hearing more about your kid’s oboe recital? Did the other person wince when you started talking about politics? Did they telegraph nonverbally with an encouraging nod or disapproving sigh?
If you’re not good at reading other people’s reactions as you speak, ask them
Check-in. “Have I lost you?” “Did I overstep?” “What do you think?” “Are you still with me?” “Had enough?” “Am I boring you?” “Make sense?” “Too much?”
Remember conversation, at its best, is a continual listening feedback loop that shapes what people say and how they say it
It is the good listener who makes a good conversation. Conversing with someone who doesn’t listen well—who doesn’t follow what you are saying or take into account how you feel about what you are hearing is awkward.