Sunday, November 18, 2007

Just Listen

You know the kind of people that just make you feel like you want to confide in them? I have a few people like that in mind. And you know what they all have in common? They're all such good listeners. When I talk to them, I feel like I'm being heard, like what I have to say is important to them. I want to be like that. I want to be a good listener. That's one of my goals. I came across this great listening advice on Lylah's blog and thought I would share it:

Ten Quick Keys to Learn to Listen

In order to listen well, we must first understand that it’s an art to be rediscovered. We listen more frequently than any other activity that we can name, except breathing. And, in spite of all the listening that goes on, there is a great need for improvement. We can become good listeners because without training ourselves to listen, we retain only 25 % of what we hear.

If you can, picture this huge iceberg floating in the ocean near Alaska. You only see the portion that’s above the water line. You don’t see this very large piece of the iceberg below the water line. It’s like that in listening. We are hearing only what’s above the water line, and in true listening (hearing the heart), we want to hear what’s below the surface of the water line. It truly takes training ourselves to focus and pay attention. I believe that listening is a personal obligation.

Poor listening stems from poor habits, from self-centeredness, and from pride. It’s been said that listening is one of the most complicated things we do because our emotions and our personality traits can actually interfere with good listening.

In learning the skill of communication, more time is spent on learning to speak rather than learning to listen. Interestingly enough, we spend about 16% of our time reading, 30% of our time talking, and 45% of our time listening. Hmmm… How many speaking courses have you been to? And, how many listening courses have you been to?

Here are Ten Quick Keys to Improve Your Listening:

1. Look directly at the person who is speaking. Engage your mind in their words. Giving direct attention shows you care.

2. Identify what they are saying. Is it an opinion, an experience, a request, a desire, a concern, or are they asking a question?

3. Don’t interrupt. Speak only in turn. It’s rude to tramp on someones thoughts and heart that is being spoken.

4. Think of what they are saying, not what you want to say. Mentally summarize their message. When you sense emotion in you rising up, get control, keep it under control.

5. Don’t get swept away in emotion. We get emotional when we are thinking their words are a personal attack. Just listen. It’s their words and their heart that is being expressed. Be thinking about what God is after in this situation.

6. Don’t change the subject. Give the person the gift of being heard out completely.

7. Don’t be in a rush. Being in the posture of listening is the posture of learning.

8. Certain words mean certain things to certain people.

9. Don’t judge what they are saying in terms of your experience. Remember, this is their story. Listen to understand.

10. If you don’t understand the meaning of a word, then ask.


Lylah said...

Hi Beautiful Betsy....thanks for the post! BTW...i love your profile pick!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Betsy Cradic said...

Thanks, Lylah! I also enjoyed your post on the ten things that our husbands would like us to know. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us!