“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” ~ Stephen Covey
If you want better relationships and more success, you need to become a great listener.
Listening is work and requires effort and practice. It does not come easy. Our natural tendency is be consumed with our own thoughts, and we so want to let others know what we think! However, since God made us with 2 ears, 2 eyes, and 1 mouth, doesn’t it seem that he intended for us to listen and see twice as much as we talk. Just a thought.
Yesterday my wife and I were having a conversation – well, to be honest, my wife was talking to me and I was off in my own world thinking about writing this post! Man, talk about positive reinforcement about the need to write this.
She knew I was not paying attention – not a good thing. I repented, and did the things that help me listen better. She liked that!
Many experts identify 3 levels of listening:
- Casual Listening – You aren’t really engaged with the person talking. You are hearing, but not listening. Your mind jumps from one thought to the next.
- Conversational Listening – You are listening, but you are listening in order to form your reply.
- Comprehensive Listening – You are fully engaged in the conversation. You are listening intently, observing the vocal tones and the mannerisms of the person talking. You are focused on their meaning within and behind the words.
The art of active listening, is priceless. When you listen to people and understand their meaning, the feel valued, and they appreciate you for listening!
So, how do you become a better listener? Glad you asked. Here are 7 tips for your practicing pleasure.
- Turn Up the value volume. Value the other person.
- Tune Out the distractions. Don’t allow yourself to focus on the thoughts or sights that might pop up during the conversation.
- Lean In and engage in the conversation. Don’t violate their personal space, but do ensure they know you are in the conversation with them.
- Clear Up your own lack of understanding their meaning. Ask questions or restate what you heard and clarify their meaning.
- Dig Down by asking the who, how, when, and where questions that allow the person to elaborate on their meaning. Often you find the real meaning about 5 levels deep, but seldom on the surface.
- Cut Up all judgment of the person speaking. You can’t know their motive, and they may not even be clear on their motive. Their is one God, and it isn’t you!! Remember, words are a tool people use to express their thoughts and feelings. Try to HEAR those thoughts and feelings.
- Give Out understanding and appreciation for their thoughts and feelings. You may not agree with the person, and that is not the point. Remember, you must value people to connect with people. If they feel valued, they will more likely be agreeable. You don’t have to see eye to eye to walk hand in hand.
Well, there you have it, my friend. Now GO LISTEN and LEARN!
Make this a great day and a GREAT week.