Five Cool Ideas for Better Listening

“So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it.”


Five Cool Ideas for Better Listening

by Michael Angelo Caruso

Listening is a fantastic skill to develop because it can pay such big dividends. Listening skills can reduce stress, improve relationships, help you remember names, save time and of course, sell more. Here are 5 Cool Ideas for better listening.

1. Good listeners practice listening.
Use your new skills to impress friends, business associates and yourself. I once earned a speaking engagement from The Nation, the preeminent newspaper of Barbados by remembering the name of Executive Editor Roxanne Gibbs 20 minutes after meeting her and 30 other people.

2. Use simple life moments to listen better.
Stop singing in the shower once in a while and listen. Listen to how the water sounds as it falls around you. Try to identify seven or eight different types of sounds. This simple exercise will teach you to hear nuances in group dynamics and in telephone conversations.

3. Listen to the bass line instead of the lyric.
When in the car, listen to songs you don’t normally listen to. Listen to the musical arrangement instead of the lyrics. Try to identify the different instruments in the arrangement. Try listening to just one of the instruments, like the bass guitar.

4. Turn down the noise and tune in to life.
When you really start to pay attention to sound, you’ll become aware of all the noise in our world. Block out some of the noise by wearing ear protection when flying, using vacuum cleaners and operating snow blowers. Listen to the important things and tune out extraneous offerings, like chatter. I remember being on a hike in the African bush. There was no traffic. There were no airplanes overhead and there was no electricity buzzing from nearby wires. All we could hear were birds chirping, the rustle of small rodents and a fellow hiker who would not shut his mouth.

5. Reflective listening promotes connectivity.
Reflective listening is a way to show regard for the speaker. By giving “verbal nods” such as saying “I see,” “Interesting,” “Hmmm,” you relay encouragement to the speaker and promote connectivity. It’s like eye contact and nodding your head in person. Taking notes when people talk to you is also a good listening habit. Don’t hesitate to ask people to repeat themselves. Ask immediately so you don’t feel embarrassed by asking later on.

Michael Angelo Caruso is the author of the 5 Cool Ideas books and the FastLearnerAudio series.  To receive his complimentary 5 Cool Ideas newsletter, simply send an e-mail to

Coaching Call to Action

Michael’s first idea is the one that I am going to focus on this week.  I’m not great with names.  I know there are tips for improving this ability. I might look them up, or I might just practice being present when I am introduced to someone new.  And how about you?  What will you do this week to improve your listening?