Poor listening is an art. Fortunately, it's a talent that's easy to master. It takes little effort and if you're really good at it, you'll be able to quickly tune out the speaker or, better yet, get him to stop talking so that you can start. It's a great way to make your relationships all about you. Here are five key ways to be an exemplary bad listener.

1. Look away.
Avoid eye contact with the speaker. Just don't look at him. Look around him: over his head, out the window, at the floor, at the ceiling, at your nails or your shoes. At anything but him. If you do this well enough, the speaker will stop and look wherever you're looking. This gives you the opportunity to cut in, change the topic and discuss something much more interesting - yourself.

2. Interrupt.
This is a perfect way to show someone that not only are you not listening, but also that whatever she's saying is no where near as important as what you've got to say. It doesn't matter when you cut in, although it's best to do it early in the conversation so that you don't waste time on her story or opinion. It's important to do this several times during a conversation so that she'll catch on that you're not interested in what she's talking about.

3. Fiddle.
Fiddling is distracting and, hopefully, will annoy the speaker enough that he'll stop talking. The best kind of fiddling implement is one that makes noise. Like a pen that retracts with a clicker at the end. Or try tapping on the table with something - a spoon, a sugar packet, or a tube of lip balm. They all work really well and are usually close at hand.

4. Repeatedly shift your body.
If you've forgotten your clicker pen and you can't find something suitable to fiddle with, don't worry - use your body. Shift in your chair, cross your legs then uncross them; repeat this a few times. Use body language such as resting your chin in your hand then tilt your head and put the side of your face in your hand. Do some neck rolls. Sighing is good also. You can miss a lot of the conversation by doing this, time will pass a bit quicker and you'll soon be talking about yourself again.

5. Take the topic and run with it.
Say, for example, you're having a drink with a colleague after work and he's telling you that he had a really horrible day. He's talking about how he and his boss got into this really heated argument and how upset he is over it. Now is perfect timing for you to cut in and tell him all about the big fight you had with your boss three years ago. This way, you don't have to hear him vent nor be empathetic and you get to retell a great tale. Niiiice.

Keep these tips in mind and you're well on your way to being a bad listener. Use them individually or combine them for extra impact and efficiency. Once you've mastered them, you'll have to find someone who you can talk to. After all, not everyone is a good listener.

Author's Bio: 

Laurie Wilhelm manages the Express Yourself to Success website, a one-stop e-source with information and techniques on social skills and interpersonal relationships. Achieve your success by working effectively with others. Find out how you can boost your career and get a free white paper, What Everyone Needs to Know About Social Skills, by going to www.expressyourselftosuccess.com.