There have been songs and poems written and articles and speeches about how we love to speak without listening when it's our turn.
Or how we pretend to listen but we're too busy thinking of what we're going to say.
And how we say "uh huh", "Yeah," and "right" not because we're listening but as a prompt to make the other person shut up so we can say what we want to say. I know a lot of radio people and interviewers who do this.
Okay, so you're not an intervieviewer or a radio person, but you still want to listen, just like you want to be listened to.
I found a great article with some great tips like:
The 1st active listening skill is nonverbal attending
Nonverbal attending means giving someone your full attention without speaking.Here are some of the basics:
Keep your body open to the other person.Try to be relaxed but attentive. If you’re sitting, lean forward a bit rather than slouching back.
Maintain moderate levels of eye contact.Look at the speaker but not like you’re in a staring contest with them.
Use simple gestures to communicate to the other person that you’re listening and encouraging them to continue.Head nods are one way — just don’t do it continuously. Occasionally say “Mm-hmm” to communicate encouragement.
The final key to nonverbal attending is staying silent.But remember: You can’t listen very well if you’re talking. In fact, if you rearrange the letters of the word “listen,” it spells “silent.” I can’t believe it took me 20 years of teaching to discover this, but it’s a useful reminder!
The entire article is worth checking out. It's from ideas.ted.com.