Has the following ever happened to you? You meet someone, shake their hand, look them in the eye as they tell you their name...and you forget their name instantly? Well, it used to happen to me all the time until I started becoming more aware that I needed to work on my listening skills.
In general, if you want to be good at communication, you need to be a good listener. You can talk all you want, but if the other person doesn’t get a chance to contribute, they’re going to lose interest. And if you can’t remember a word they said, they’re going to lose interest just the same. One way you can improve your listening skills is by being aware that you need to improve your listening skills. Surprise surprise. When talking with someone new, my natural reaction is to get caught up in the moment and not register anything the person in front of me is saying...because I’m caught up in the moment.
Now that I’m aware I need to work on my listening skills, I make mental cues to myself to actually hear and absorb the information the person is saying to me as they’re speaking. By truly understanding what someone is saying to you, I can offer my input that directly contributes to the conversation.