1. Look for hints that a person wants to talk—and signal your willingness to listen. My husband rarely wants to “talk,” but when he does, I put my book down flat in my lap to show I’m paying close attention (and to prevent myself from sneaking a look at the page).
2. Let the other person explain what’s on his or her mind. Acknowledge the reality of someone else’s feelings.
3. Encourage the person to elaborate by asking open-ended questions, making listening noises (turns out these are called “minimal encouragers”), sitting in a way that shows attentiveness, and making eye contact.
4. Paraphrase what someone said to show that you’ve understood his or her point.
5. Ask questions, and listen to try to help work on a possible solution—but don’t rush to fix things.
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