To stir up a healthy conversation you have to be a good listener

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A good listener is one who allows the other person to speak, before chiming in with their own thoughts. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

Conversations cannot be one-way. If there's no dialogue, then it is just a speech. And dialogues can only be exchanged when both parties are active participants. The most basic thing to do, in order to stir up a healthy conversation, is to listen well. A good listener is someone who pays attention and asks relevant questions, thereby engaging the speaker. Here are some ways you can become a good listener, if you are not one already. Read on.

Do not interrupt

The most obvious thing you can do, so as to tell the world you are a bad listener, is to interrupt a person when they are speaking. Sometimes people interrupt because they want to show they are paying attention. But, to interrupt is to really mean you do not respect the speaker enough to allow them the time to finish their sentences.

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Do not make it about yourself

Some people have the tendency to hijack a conversation so as to make it about themselves. If a friend is talking about their wedding, and you steer the talk towards your own — without even realising it — then you are not really being that great a listener. Sometimes it is best to listen and hear the other party first, without making your own offerings.

Don't get defensive

You do not always get defensive when the other party is taking an offensive stand. Sometimes, people get defensive in a conversation when they are not really listening to what the other person is saying.

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Making eye contact with the person who is speaking makes them feel you are present in the conversation. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

Don't ask someone to hurry

You may be the busiest person on earth, but it is still considered rude when you hurry the speaker, just so they can get to the point. And you do not have to explicitly tell them to hasten, but looking at your watch sporadically, looking around the room, checking at your phone are all signs you are not interested in the conversation.

Make eye contact

Not just the words, but expressions are means to read a person, too. When you make eye contact with the person who is speaking, you subtly tell them you are present in the conversation. It is a great gesture that sets apart a good listener from a bad one.

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Wait for your turn

When the conversation is riveting, you may want to chime in and offer your opinion, but you must wait and allow others to finish first. As mentioned before, interrupting someone or finishing their sentences is quite a rude thing to do. Do not tap your feet anxiously either. Wait patiently before you begin.