Every person has a desire to be understood by their family, friends and coworkers when they speak. When we are truly listened to, we can get that connection we seek.
Understanding comes in many forms. Sometimes we have feelings to be understood, other times it may be instructions on completing a task. The form of communication may vary but the overall desire to be understood is the same.
How can we become a better listener?
- Be actively engaged in the conversation, using eye-contact, and not looking at the TV, our phone, or any other distraction.
- Ask questions of the person speaking in order to clarify your understanding.
- Re-state what you hear the person saying.
- Don’t pre-judge what you assume the person will say.
This practice is considered being an “active listener.” Meaning, you are actively involved in the conversation and not passively hearing without really listening.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”Leo Buscaglia
When we feel listened to in our relationships, we feel validated, appreciated, and loved. It is important for the listening to be reciprocated. It is the hope that by us truly listening, other people in our lives will follow suit. If this doesn’t happen, you can guide the other person along with asking them to restate what you have said or ask him/her a question to check their understanding of what you were trying to convey.
It can be particularly important to listen at your workplace. When given instructions on completing a task, you should question and re-state to ensure your understanding before ending the conversation. This will make certain you do a good job and accomplish the undertaking to the best of your ability.
During this volatile time in our country it is more important than ever to truly listen to what others are saying. People form opinions based on their own experiences, not the same experiences we have had. We do not need to agree with their beliefs or feelings, but we should try and understand them.
A person who is a good listener is one who does not need to necessarily agree or reply, your goal should be to understand what the person is communicating.
“Seek first to understand and then to be understood.”Stephen Covey
There is a reason why we have two ears and only one mouth. We should practice listening more, truly listening, and speaking less.