Active listening is a process that involves focusing, clarifying and giving feedback. To be a good listener so as to have a proper conversation you should master some skills and avoid some things. Let’s start with what you should avoid. They are as follows: 1. Avoid controlling the message. Give the speaker the feeling of being free to think and express himself. Don’t oblige him to say something because you want it. When you are involved in the message – not controlling it – you are more likely to listen well and attentively. 2. Avoid changing the topic suddenly. If you did so, the speaker would think that you weren’t listening or you are not interested in what he says. Instead, you can give comments, answer questions or give positive feedback. 3. Avoid using too many closed questions. These questions which require a yes or no response tend to halt communication and don’t realize the perfect clarification that should be included in a good conversation. Instead, try to ask open ended questions especially when you need more information such as “Could you give me an example of …? “Could you explain it again? “What do you mean?” 4. Avoid interruption. In our haste to argue – especially when we feel that the speaker challenges us with what he says – or in our haste to share our own ideas we cut others off. This conveys to the speaker that you are an enemy or that you don’t value what he talks about. 5. Avoid assumptions. Assumptions are often not accurate and they certainly prevent the listener from focusing on what’s being said. If you are assuming, you are not listening. 6. Avoid biases. We all have biases. This is a part of human nature. But if you accept to have a conversation with someone, don’t let these biases affect what others have to say. Try to fully understand people and their context and don’t allow your personal experience to guide their speech. In brief, to be a good listener, imagine yourself in the place of the speaker and listen to him in the same way as you want him to listen to you.