Listening is more than simply “not speaking.” Give others your undivided attention. Be present and engaged. Quiet the noise in your head and let go of the need to agree or disagree. Suspend your judgment and be curious to know more, rather than jumping to conclusions. Above all, listen to understand.
I think this is one we all need to be reminded of every so often. Everyone “listens,” but sometimes we are not always hearing what the other person is saying. Listening generously helps in many aspects of life—conflict issues, investing in relationships, finding ways to improve and so on. I know for myself that sometimes I am just thinking about how to respond to what they are saying instead of the words they are saying. We need to go into a conversation, big or small, with an open and quiet mind to make sure we are giving our full attention to someone. We can start to learn more about each other, find out what their strengths are, and how we can make each other’s life easier. No one likes it when they don’t feel heard, or they are constantly repeating the same thing; in our home lives or places of work. I know it can be hard sometimes with everything going on.
Here are several ways to be a better listener:
- Be present - put down your phone and look away from the computer.
- Reflect on what they are saying - ask questions.
- Repeat back what they are saying - concentrate on their words and repeat them back to yourself.
- Wait until they are fully done talking to respond.
I think with a little bit of work we can all be better listeners!