When it comes to relationships the only skill most Essential to learn would be, “listening to hear”.
Whether you’re a parent, spouse, co-worker or friend, the ability to listen, understand and show that you care, is an essential building block to any relationship.
now, I’ll be the first to tell you I’m not a naturally good listener. My family and friends probably wouldn’t describe me as a great listener, but it is a skill that I’ve worked on and developed over time. and this article is going to teach you some of Ways you can improve your listening skills.
emphatic listening helps people be more open and less defensive, it creates a space where people are able to understand their emotions better and resolve them. It improves collaborative problem-solving, it builds trust and helps people feel connected and it facilitates the building of emotional intelligence. That is the ability to understand and express what it is you’re feeling.
How to be a Good Listener
In order to become a better listener. There’s a few skills You can actively practice while you’re listening to other people. The first one is simply paying attention, try to focus your mind and thoughts on what they’re talking about.
The second skill is what one of my professors called shuttuping . That means just stop talking, talking a lot obviously gets in the way of your ability to be a good listener. I once heard this described as using the hairy eyeball. So when someone says something you kind of lift your eye, you just look interested in what they’re saying and they’re going to keep talking you, don’t have to say a lot of things.
Other important step is providing a positive atmosphere using your body language. So opening yourself up. You’re not crossing your arms or looking down at the ground, you look at them, open yourself up to people and give non verbal encouragement like head nodding and kind of matching the speaker if they’re pacing back and forth you watch them and you move with them.
You can also invite people to say more by saying things like, “oh tell me more” or “oh, I’d like to hear more about that” or “what happened”. Another really essential skill of good listening. is listening for the deeper meaning of what they’re talking about. And when you can reflect that back to them it helps them feel understood.
So a child comes home from school and had a rough experience with homework. And if you just engage about the homework, you know, they say, “oh, I’m no good at math”. Then you get in the discussion with homework “you can do math here. Let me show you here’s how to do this problem. Let me fix this … ” then you’re completely ignoring what the child is feeling which is maybe a little bit down or discouraged. So just acknowledge and say “okay. I can see that you’re feeling discouraged. This is hard..” can help them feel like you’re on the same page with them. and like you understand them.
Things To avoid
Now, you might not be a good listener If you’re doing the following things. and I think a lot of us don’t realize it when we’re doing these things that they interfere with our ability to listen or to help the other person feel like we understand them.
So good listening is not agreeing or disagreeing you. I don’t have to agree with someone to listen to them and I think a lot of people get caught up in that. remember Our goal is to start with just understanding them, good listening is not giving advice or teaching. It’s not problem solving. It’s not saying “well, look it’s going to get better tomorrow” or “don’t worry It’s all going to be okay”.
Don’t ask a lot of questions that’s you directing the conversation and sometimes makes the the person who’s speaking feel like their beauty grilled or interrogated, problem solving for the other person can often feel like Discounting their feelings. if you say things like, “oh, it’s not that bad” or “oh if you only did this that would fix it” it interferes with their ability to feel understood, saying things like “oh I understand” or “oh you think that’s bad. Let me tell you about something that happened to me..” that can really get in the way of helping another person feel understood.
anytime you’re trying to change them or convince them of something or sway their opinion. That’s an indication that you are not doing a good job listening. Now. This is where a lot of people get their undies all in a bundle about listening skills. They get All frustrated, they say So I can never give advice or I can’t help someone? that’s not the case. Of course. There’s a time for advice-giving, there’s a time for empathizing, there’s a time to encourage someone or to teach them math, but that’s just not listening.
What I’m saying is you start with listening, you start with understanding, you start with acknowledging them and checking to see if you acknowledge them and your understanding them so you might say ” so what you’re saying is you feel that your teacher doesn’t get you or you you’re having a hard time listening to your teacher…” and you clarify and then they may be say, yeah, that’s it or they say no, that’s not a problem. the important thing is that by doing that step, you get to a place where you’re both on the same page and they know that you understand them. And after that if there is a need to give advice or try to share your opinion or change their mind, there might be room for that after but it always works better after that Foundation of understanding. Adding that they know you understand them.
Good listening is hard, but it’s hardest with the people you’re closest to, that’s because when they share something that makes them feel sad or hurt or upset, we feel that same pain and those same emotions. So we often are quick to jump in and try and fix things for them or if they’re expressing something about us. We tend to be more defensive because we have a stronger emotional reaction to them. So when were jumping in to fix something or were jumping in with advice it might not be because
We’re trying to help them feel better. But because we’re trying to relieve our own discomfort. that means in those times we have to work twice as hard to use our good listening skills and not immediately try to fix the problem.
Even if you have a really good conversation with someone and you’re able to share your points of view, but they don’t agree with you at the end, at the very least. They’ll feel like you understand them and that’s a valuable step forward.
Now if you’d like to practice this go out there and try and have a five-minute conversation with someone without asking questions, giving advice or talking about yourself. This can be quite challenging, but it’s a skill that can be developed.
Now one last caveat if all you’re doing is using these listening skills as a way to try and convince or change someone else, so you think well if I’m a better listener, I can convince that person to change, then this is all going to backfire on you. people can feel our intentions they can tell if we actually care or if we’re just acting like we’re listening or if we just using some skill On them, especially teenagers are really good at sniffing out when we’re using some new skill. So make sure when you go in to listen to someone you get your heart in the right place and try to focus your energy on caring about them and what they have to say, so thanks for reading. Hope this is helpful. Take care.