It takes practice. Believe me. You might think that to listen to people is an easy thing because you feel that you just need to shut up and let the other people do the talking. It's not. Listening well takes focus, patience and practice. You actually put more mental effort in listening than speaking.
I confess that I sometimes tend to lose patient in listening to other people when they are talking. However, I strive consciously to push myself to listen to what other people have to say about something. Just try it for once and you'll be amaze and annoyed the next time you get the chance to communicate with someone who never listen. There and then will you only know how it feels. Because you tried it. Listen.
I also agree that I'll tend to get emotional over this particular topic. It's your lucky day by the way. The Toastmaster monthly magazines that I'm reading right now have just the perfect tips for you to be a good listener and which also prompt me to do this post. I'm killing the birds with one stone.
So here it goes,
Watch A Person's Body Language. Unspoken cues can say more than words.
Make Eye Contact. This indicates you are paying attention and decreases external distractions.
Don't Interrupt. Period.
Listen To Every.Last.Word. Focus on what the speaker is saying. Planning what you will say once the speaker stops talking is not listening.
Pause To Process. Take a moment to absorb what you just heard and formulate an appropriate response. Just like in a superior speech, pauses are a great addition to every conversation.
Ask Questions. Clarify information you are unsure about and show the speaker support. You will be surprised at what you can learn if you are truly listening.
With that, I rest my case.