In a world filled with 24/7 noise and flooded with a continuous barrage of 140 character Tweets, listening is becoming a lost art. In fact, being considered a “good listener” is almost quaint these days, and that’s too bad, because learning to listen effectively can not only improve the quality of your decision making, it can also make you a better leader.

If you’d like to learn the nearly lost art of being a world-class listener, start with these simple steps:

1) Put your phone down – When someone is talking to you, set your phone aside so you’re not tempted to glance at your newly incoming emails and Tweets. Maintain eye contact with the person speaking, which requires your brain to turn the bulk of your attention to that person.

2) Actually listen! – This seems like it should be obvious, but think about how most of your interactions go. They’re probably conversations where you spend at least as much time talking as you do listening.

The idea here is to spend most of your time not talking and really focusing on what the other person is saying. Sure, you may have a few pointed follow up questions, but even then, the goal is to get more information or to clarify, not to chit-chat.

3) Read Between the lines – Sometimes, what’s not being said is as important as the words being spoken, and this is something that poor listeners miss all too often because they glance away at the wrong moment to check their phones and such.

When you start really paying attention, though, you’ll notice that body language fills in a lot of the gaps the spoken word leaves out. The specific words chosen to convey a message can often be quite telling as well. Once you’ve upped your attention-paying game, all of this will become readily apparent to you.

There’s more to good listening than just these three things, of course, but if you start here, you’ll find that your listening skills improve significantly, and that is an excellent beginning no matter how you look at it!