Listening Well

Listening WellMost of us have experienced the frustration of having someone not listen to us or felt that same frustration when someone says you’re not listening to him or her.   But, before we get all bent out of shape and accuse someone of not listening, we must first ask ourselves the question, “how well do I listen”?

You must learn to be a good listener if you want others to listen to you.  That means putting down the smartphone and giving the other person your undivided attention.

A smartphone is no substitute for meaningful connection

Listening is so much more than hearing the words that are spoken. Listening involves paying full attention to the person speaking, taking note of the tone of voice, gestures, body language and making eye contact.

We are so accustomed to speaking in shorthand – e.g., OMG, LOL, ROFL, etc., that real communication easily gets lost.  A “smart” device is no substitute for meaningful, connected interaction between two or more people.  Smart devices and shortcut speech is just another way for us to avoid connecting with each other in a meaningful way.

Before you send your next text, email or instant message, ask yourself:

Does this communication connect me to him/her?

And to further hone up on your listening skills,  keep these tips in mind to remind you to become a better listener.

1) Look the person speaking in the eye as they talk to you. You can’t do this on a smartphon! Looking a person in the eye  assures that them that they have your full attention. Don’t fidget, survey the surrounding scenery or check email.

2) Nod your head occasionally to show you are present and listening, say, “tell me more”, or ask questions when appropriate to indicate your interest.

3) Don’t interrupt the person speaking to voice your opinion, give advice, or express thoughts before he/she has the opportunity to finish speaking.

4) Notice the speaker’s body language, tone of voice and facial expressions. When we focus only on the words being said, we often miss important physical cues that would clarify and give us a better understanding of what is really being said.

5) Remember to ask for clarification before responding.  Ask questions that elicit more information or detail and can’t be answered with a “yes” or “no”. You want to ask questions that promote more conversation and clarity.

For more listening and communication tips, I invirte you to get my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace, and Celebrate the Real You

 

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.