When I sit with someone who wants to talk to me I first eliminate distractions as much as possible, and then I fully focus on the person and what he/she is saying. I listen with all my senses, I listen with my “third ear”.
It took me a long time to learn to be comfortable with moments and even minutes of silence to give the other time to order his/her thoughts and think about what to say next.
It shows when our attention is focused on the one talking to us.
And it shows when it is not. I personally hate it when I am talking to someone and s/he interrupts me or starts looking at her/his phone. It makes me feel that what I have to say is not interesting and I also tend to forget what I wanted to say and that is super annoying.
I recently had a meeting with our manager (she has a PhD in Social Work). I wanted to know her “secret”, why people say she is such a great therapist. She said “I just listen”. But as we went on talking I understood that she doesn’t just listen. She listens to her patient in such a total way that she is completely absorbed in his/her story and forgets everything else around her. She says that when the session is finished, it sometimes takes her a few minutes to switch back to here and now and it may even take her a few seconds to remember names of close people. ♡♡♡