Whether you’re trying to improve communication with your partner, or be a better boss, listening is key for making long-lasting connections. Below are three ways to be a better listener.

Make eye contact. When someone is speaking to you, make eye contact. In an age when our eyes are more used to focusing on screens than faces, it can be too tempting to look down or away during a conversation. Hold eye contact for improved communication and intimacy.

Ask questions. Don’t just smile and nod. Ask questions to continue the conversation and show interest. However, try not to stockpile questions as your conversation partner is speaking. Stay in the moment and ask questions at natural pauses.

Stave off over-the-top reactions. It can be tempting to react heavily to what your conversation partner is saying. However, this can distract the speaker. Instead, focus on what they are saying and not simply the emotions that their words create in you.

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