The people in your life might not even register this information consciously, but they act on this information.
I see how the quality of someone’s listening can open or close doors. I see how relationships flourish or disintegrate as a result of the how people listen, reflect and are curious about one another.
I notice that people who know how to listen are highly trusted and magnetizing to others.
I can’t tell you how many conversations I have in therapy with people where progress toward solving a problem is stopped because my client feels they can not talk to someone important in their life.
Want to improve your listening?
Here are 4 ways:
ONE: Put away your phone.
Just its presence is causing a distraction. Don’t just turn it over on the table, put it away and out of sight.
TWO: Listen to understand.
I get that you have thoughts when someone is talking. What they say reminds you of something you want to share.
But does what you say elevate the conversation? Does it deepen your connection and trust?
Want to know what you can say back?
Summarize what they said. Ask them a question. Stay with them and what is important to them a little longer. Trust me, that goes a LONG way.
THREE: Don’t fix a thing. Unless they ask for your advice or feedback.
People don’t need to be fixed. They need connection.
I know you don’t want to see people in pain or struggling. You want to help. But remember that the draw to “help” isn’t always helpful. Sometimes you want to help for your own sake (to be useful or soothe your discomfort, for example) and that isn’t for them, is it?
Instead, validate their experience. “That makes sense” or “I could see how you feel that way” or “Wow, I never thought about it that way”.
FOUR: Slow Down.
There is no rush. If you don’t get to everything in the time you had, you can talk about it later.
Rushing to get your point across degrades the level of communication that can be exchanged.
It’s like rushing in the morning or rushing to get something done. The likelihood of things going smoothly is lower. Spilling something, taking a wrong turn, making a mistake in your work costs you more in the long run than if you just slowed down.
You end up actually talking more and being more annoyed about an issue that could have been resolved if you could bring your full presence and attention.