The first step to being a helpful listener is to be in the right frame of mind to truly hear what the person is going to say. This step comes before the start of the conversation. Without it, the other person isn’t going to feel satisfied at the end of the chat. And you won’t, really, either. So what does the right frame of mind entail? Start by calming your own mind. If your mind is turbulent, you won’t be able to focus on the other person.
Set your ego aside. The conversation isn’t about you, but about the person you are talking to. Their thoughts, their feelings, are at the fore. I realize that this is a hard one. We are so accustomed to being the center of the drama in our own lives, that we listen with a certain bit of history. But if we can set aside as much of us as we can, and truly hear what they say, it will be a better experience for you both.
Part of setting aside your ego is setting aside judgment. For some people, this is hard to do. They may be used to judging, comparing, contrasting in their every day life. But when we realize that every action has some sort of circumstances, some sort of reward, some sort of reason, we can hear beyond the action and into the heart. Everyone deserves to truly be heard. It’s a human need.