People need to practice and acquire skills to be good listeners
There are 3 types of listening, combative, passive, and active.
Combative listening is when we are not hearing the intended message, in fact we are waiting for an opening to take the floor or only listening for flaws in the speakers message. We are planning our rebuttal instead of listening. Passive listening occurs when the listener is genuinely interested in hearing the message and think there is an understanding but remain silent and no verification of the message occurs. In active listening we are also genuinely interested in understanding what the other person message is and we are active in checking out our understanding before we respond with our own new message. We restate or paraphrase our understanding of their message and reflect it back to the sender for verification. This verification or feedback process is what distinguishes active listening and makes it effective.
There is a big difference between simply hearing the words and really listening for the message. When one listens effectively a sense of the speakers point of view or percpective is apparent. There does not have to be agreement with the speaker but an understanding of the message.
An important skill in being a good listener is to act like a good listener. If you make eye contact the speaker will feel more comfortable and probably do a better job.
When you have established eye and face contact with your speaker, you must then react to the speaker by sending out non-verbal signals. Your face must move and give the range of emotions that indicate whether you are following what the speaker has to say. By moving your face to the information, you can better concentrate on what the person is saying. Your face must become an active and contoured catcher of imformation.