One of the prerequisites to success is excellent communication skill. And how do you become a better communicator – silence! You may be very knowledgeable in a particular subject, but you will only be selling yourself short when you fail to listen to others. The essence of effective communication is idea sharing. Naturally, we humans aren’t good listeners. It takes time and patience to build good listening skills.

In his book “How to win friends and influence people”, Dale Carnegie explained that part of making good friends is learning how to listen. Naturally, we would go on talking about ourselves, our experience, our interest and so on when given the chance. To get a person talking, simply ask him or her a question. There is always something to learn from a balanced conversation.

Whenever you find yourself in the midst of people you do not really know that much, making it a point of duty to strike a conversation with the person that catches your attention. They may be shy at first, but a little nudging would cause them to budge.

If you find yourself in a class with an annoyingly boring teacher, you may be tempted to sleep. Instead of following your natural volition, listen well to understand the points the speaker is trying to make. There is every possibility that the problem is coming from you and not the speaker. Maybe you are simply not interested in what the speaker has to say. Take the bold step of asking the speaker engaging questions. Not only will this help you, it will do the same for the speaker.

Serious about improving your listening skills? Talk with kids as often as possible. Kids love it when they are given a chance to talk. They will try to use so many words at a time to convey an idea, and you have got to be a skillful listener to understand their point. It takes a great deal of patience to discuss with kids. Most importantly, ask lots of questions when you converse with them.

Just like you wouldn’t learn swimming by reading swimming books, the same goes for listening – you have got to practice as often as possible to master it. Whenever the opportunity arises, immerse yourself into a conversation. You would be surprised to discover you have made new friends all because you learned to listen intently in conversations.