Listen with an open mind – see it from their point of view. Try not to judge from your own perspective. For instance, by deciding whether you would have behaved in the same way.
Have patience and a willingness to give the other person the necessary time, attention and encouragement to get their story across.
How to show you understand them? Tell them what you think their point is; putting it into your own words, not just repeating what they say.
A good listener is a good understander. Effective listening is not something that just happens. It is an activity, like calculating or remembering. It take effort to listen well.
Listen for words, rhythms, speed and colourful phrases. You will find that it is what the character doesn’t say that is most revealing.