Are you a good listener?
By Bryon Maxwell
When you claim to be “listening to someone”, are you a passive or active listener? I find myself shifting between both depending on who I am talking to, if I am in a hurry, the topic, do I “like” (or agree) with this person, etc etc. I recently read these tips below that have really made a difference in my relationships. Let me know what you think.
- Maintain eye contact when you are listening to someone. This keeps your mind from wandering and communicates that the person has your full attention. Refrain from rolling your eyes in disgust, closing your eyes when they seem passive aggressive, looking over their head, or staring at their shoes while they are talking.
- Don’t engage in other activities while you are listening to another individual. Remember, quality time is giving someone your undivided attention.
- Listen for feelings. Ask yourself: “What are this person’s emotions right now?” When you think you have the answer, confirm it. For example, “It sounds like you are feeling disappointed because I forgot . . .” That gives the person a chance to clarify his or her feelings. It also communicates that you are listening intently to what they are saying.
- Observe body language. Clenched fists, trembling hands, tears, furrowed brows, and eye movement may give you clues as to what the person is feeling. Sometimes body language speaks one message while the words speak another. Ask for clarification to make sure you know what the person is really thinking and feeling.
- Refuse to interrupt.
- Ask reflective questions.
- Express understanding. The person needs to know that he or she has been heard and understood.
- Ask if there is anything you might do that would be helpful. Notice you are asking—not telling—the person what he or she ought to do. Never give advice until you are sure the other person wants it.
Dr. Gary Chapman
Author of: The 5 Love Languages