Most of us have one mouth and two ears. You can derive from that, that we should listen twice as much as we talk. However it seems that we don’t listen as good as we would like. The greatest losses we see because of bad listening are the broken relationships people have with friends, family or spouses that can’t seem to be fixed. Is it THE solution to fixing everything? I am not sure. But what i do know it will improve yourself as a person.
Let’s give listening the following description: Listening is making meaning from sound. In this case making meaning from the words the other person is saying or not-saying. So How can we listen better? There a lot of tips and tricks to listen better. But what i feel works for me is practicing the following steps in conversation. memo: The steps don’t have to be in this order. They are: Receive, Appriciate, Ask, Summarize.
Receive the information the other person is giving you. Duh Eve, of course you need to recieve the information if you are listening to someone. But what i mean is you should be aware that you are giving this person this person your attention. Face them, Look at them in the eye. So that they know you are listening. Put away your phone, turn off the tvee and give this person your attention. As the conversation progresses you don’t have to look them in they eye constantly. Please behave like a normal person. But relax, be present, pay attention, direct yourself ,remain ready to serve.
Appreciate the information directed to you
During the conversation when information is coming to you and you are paying attention. It is important to keep an open mind. This other person is trying to communicate their thoughts and feelings to you and it is possible that you feel reactions of for example
– judgement (Thinking that was a stupid move)
– unneeded advice
Reactions are completely natural but this is the time to choose to respond by actively listening and trying to understand what and why the other person is saying what he or she is saying
Ask questions to ensure understanding
If you need to ask a question to better understand what the other person is saying. Of course you should ask your question. But you shouldn’t interrupt them. Wait untill the other person pauses and ask your question. However the question should not make you stray off topic especially not if it is a serious conversation. For example: Let’s say your child is telling you about what she learned in class today and at one point she says “and Linda agreed with me” and then you say “Oh Linda I haven’t heard from her in a while, How is she doing?” before you know the conversation is shifted. Try to keep the conversation on topic.
Summarizing in conversations where agreements are being made usually are natural. You can paraphrase what is said and even write down to remember. However it feels akward. just say to the other person that you just want to ensure that you guys are following trough with the agreements made
It s said that in any conversation we only hear 20% of what is actually being said. However as with any skill, learning to listen effectively takes practice. So please practice and build relationships, solve problems, ensure understanding, resolve conflicts, and improve accuracy just by listening better.
With a twinkle and a smile,
See other post Seek to understand, then to be understood