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How to be a better Listener!

Most people are not good listeners. Usually when people appear to be listening, they are just waiting for their turn to speak, forming their reply, reaction, advice, opinions etc. To be truly listened to is a luxury these days sadly. And often this is what many of my clients enjoy in our sessions is to be simply and fully listened to. But anyone can build this skill so here are some thoughts about Active Listening and how you can make a difference in the lives of those around you.

Active listening is a communication technique where a person is fully engaged and focused on what the other person is saying without interrupting or speaking over them. It involves paying attention to the speaker's verbal and nonverbal cues and asking clarifying questions to confirm understanding. Active listening is an essential skill in building strong relationships and effective communication in any situation, including personal, professional, and educational settings.

I remember someone saying to me that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. Do you listen twice as much as you speak? The bible says in James 1:19;

Know this, my beloved brothers and sisters: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

So how do we do this? Here are 3 quick tips to improve your Listening skills right away:

  1. Be aware of your own posture, body language, physiology as you listen. What sort of message are you sending to the listener as they share with you. Are you making eye contact? Are your arms relaxed or folded? Is judgment or disagreement written all over your face? Can you remain objective and detached enough so that you are not influencing the speaker in a negative way? Work on having an understanding and open posture as the listener.

  2. Reassure the speaker that you have understood what they have shared by reflecting back the words that they have said or paraphrase using slightly different words which do not change the meaning of what the other person said. "So, this is what I think I heard you say..."

  3. Be encouraging. Let the speaker know that you are happy to listen, that they don't need to rush, that right now they are a priority and matter more than everything else on your minds 'to-do list'. This is how you build trust. Be completely present, have your phone out of sight or on silent, don't look at your watch or your smart watch when you get notifications or to check the time. Believe in your heart that nothing is more important in this particular moment than listening wholeheartedly to this other person. See this as a gift you can give them. Remember how deprived people are of good listeners so be the one person in their life who chooses to listen and listen well. Not to fix or argue but to seek to understand.

This is like building a muscle and takes patience and practice. But it will absolutely influence your relationships for the better!

You can download this free worksheet to start making positive changes in your communication skills today.

Active Listening
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