“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” —Bryant H. McGill
I knew I needed help with my listening skills, so I picked up a book by Michael P. Nichols, PhD. It’s called The Lost Art of Listening.
He says, “Listening is so basic that we take it for granted. Unfortunately, most of us think of ourselves as better listeners than we really are.”
Listening is key to connecting, understanding, and knowing another person.
Why is so hard to listen to others; to be totally engaged while another person speaks?
This is especially true:
–If we don’t agree with what they are saying.
–If their words make us angry.
–If they are taking lots of time to say it.
Listening requires true patience and unselfishness, which can be lacking in the best of us 🙂
Experts agree that good listening makes all the difference between poor communication and healthy conversations.
With that in mind, here are some things I want to work on to be a better listener:
- Watch body language. When I focus on the talker and look at someone’s eyes, it shows I want to listen.
- Cut out distractions. And don’t squirm, roll my eyes, tap my fingers or look at my phone while someone is talking to me. Don’t act like I have something better to do, even though I might….
[Okay, what about if your little boy wants to tell you the (lengthy) dream that he had last night? It’s okay to say, “Can you wait a few minutes? There’s a fire starting on the stove…” or…”Why don’t we sit down and write this out later? Then you can read it back to me and you’ll have it forever!”]
- Listen the talker have his say. Resist the strong temptation to interrupt with a similar story or disagreement. There will (hopefully?) be time for your side later.
- Ask thoughtful questions. Before taking your turn, make sure you have understood her point of view.
Finally, here are some inspiring quotes about listening:
There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.~ Simon Sinek
Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery. ~ Joyce Brothers
Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.~ Doug Larson
You can’t fake listening. It shows. ~ Raquel Welch
It’s not a coincidence that God gave us two ears and only one mouth. ~Epictetus