Sometimes we do realize it, but are not willing to put forth the effort that is needed in order to become a good listener.
In the past I have talked about how in order to live a truly healthy life in all aspects, we must attend to other areas beyond just the physical stuff. One of those areas is our relationships.
Good ListenerWhen I ask if you are a good listener, I am not talking about listening in the sense of listening to get the information that you need in order to do your job or complete any specific task, I am talking about listening in the context of your personal relationships, including those with ourselves. When we love someone, we give them our attention. We are in a sense, attending to that individual’s personal growth. We set aside our time and actively shift our consciousness toward them. We are consciously choosing to listen. Yet, in reality, so many of us are poor listeners. Truly listening takes a great amount of effort and focus. You see, it's actually quite simple, many of us are poor listeners because:
- We do not realize we are poor listeners, so we therefore are unable to change what we do not realize we need to work on.
- We do realize it, but are not willing to put forth the effort that is needed in order to become a good listener.
Tips On Becoming A Better Listener
- Be genuinely interested. Clear your mind and let the words of the speaker ring in your ears.
- Tune out distractions. How do you feel when you are speaking and the listener is looking around the room or obviously not connecting with what you are saying? Not good, right?
- Let go of preconceived notions and be open. Listening involves total acceptance of the speaker, the putting aside of all prejudices, personal desires and agendas, so that the speaker feels complete acceptance and freedom to be open. The more this happens, the more the speaker and the listener begin to fully accept one another, and the relationship is able to grow and mature.
- Make eye contact, both when speaking and listening.
- Turn your whole body toward the speaker, so as to “fully invest” yourself into the speaker and what they have to say.
- Resist the temptation to rebut. Listen to the whole message and think about it fully before formulating your response.
- Be observant of the whole message. Research shows that 75% of communication is non-verbal, projected through body language and tone.
- Ask questions. If there is something said that is not clear to you, ask for clarification, yet only ask questions that will help you to understand the speaker's message better.
- Re-focus a wandering mind. Sometimes our mind can wander while listening, and it is important to be up front and honest about this. Most people are very understanding, and appreciate it when we say, “I am sorry. My mind wandered for a moment and I didn’t catch that last sentence. Can you repeat what you just said for me?” This shows the listener that you do care for what they are saying and it also reassures them that the majority of the time, you are truly listening.