T I P S F O R L I S T E N I N G
Eye Contact - this is an obvious one but we live in a highly distracted culture. Put your phone away, and look at the person talking.
Practice active listening - respond with open ended questions and/or use the method of summarization ("So, what I'm hearing you say is..."). Listening isn't always entirely silent, sometimes it requires you to ask furthering questions to better understand what the person is saying.
Verbally show that you're with them - by using short verbal responses, the person sharing will see that you're with them throughout the conversation (i.e. "Yeah", "Of course", "Mmm", "Sure").
Don't think or judge while you listen - If you think about how you're going to respond, or make judgements about what the person is disclosing to you, you won't be able to listen. Judgement closes the doors to giving and receiving. Be neutral. Show up for the person sharing. Listen how you would want to be listened to.
Create an environment that's conducive for quality conversations - "ideal" environments without distractions are hard to come by. We are constantly surrounded by distractions and things vying for our attention. But, we can take small steps to cultivate environments for good conversation. If you feel distracted during a conversation, make a suggestion to move to another location. Not only will this help you to listen, it will communicate to the other person that you care about what they have to say.
J U S T B E G I N.
We don't grow overnight so don't expect yourself to. Just begin practicing these tips and go from there.