Happy New Year! I wish you joy, peace and happiness this year. May you find your perfect life partner this year to the glory of God and may you ever be blessed! My first post this year is about listenability, a skill that could be better utilised in today’s fast moving, impatient world. Read on!
Many people understand the importance of listening in their relationships but most people do not really listen. That is, give their one hundred per cent attention to what is being said to them. Not listening, or not listening properly, can be seen in all spheres of life such as the in workplace, in relationships, when friends are talking to us etc. Proper listening is really important to our success in our personal and professional live. We live in a fast-paced world, faster than at any other time in human history.Our minds are constantly busy thinking ahead (in fact, most of us have problem-solving minds). Even while someone is speaking to us, we are thinking about what we will say in return, thereby affecting our concentrationon what is being said. Alternatively, we could be thinking about what we would rather be doing, where we would rather be, our to-do list, whether we fed the cat that morning, the list is endless! We should be more present when listening and show genuine interest in what is being said to us.
Below are a few helpful practices to help us improve our ‘listenability’ or whatis commonly known as ‘active or effective listening’.
- Commitment: We must commit to listen and to understand what is being said to us.
- Let the speaker see that you are listening: This will encourage them to speak even more. The following actions can help send that message:
- Put the other person at ease with your body language, facial expression, welcoming posture etc.
- Lean forward; give comfortable eye contact, a slight smile.
- Give affirmations: nod your head when a significant point is made.
- Say things like ‘okay’ at appropriate times, Other phrases you coulduse to show that you are listening include ‘I see what you mean’, ‘that makes sense’, ‘I see where you are coming from’ etc.
- Quiet your mind and stay fully present!
- Ask questions at relevant points if necessary. These could be clarifying questions, open questions, closed questions, etc.
- Repeat sentences or hrases back to the speaker to ensure you have understood what has been said to you.
- Stay silent and be patient: Don’t rush to speak or fill in the ‘quiet’ when the speaker stops or pauses. Let silence do the heavy lifting.