Be a better listener
When was the last time you truly listened to someone or someone really listened to you?
We all crave to understand and be understood but when we speak to others, are we really connecting or just waiting for our turn to talk?
A new book by New York Times contributor Kate Murphy called You’re Not Listening reveals that only by truly listening can we truly connect with others. The book suggests that learning how to listen has the potential to transform our relationships, expand our worldviews, improve our self-awareness, and increase our creativity and happiness.
You’re Not Listening explores years of academic research on listening and analyses interviews with numerous people who are paid to listen intensely, such as spies, priests, and psychotherapists. The book reveals that the real art of listening lies in having curiosity, empathy and a genuine interest in other people. While it takes a bit of effort, the author suggests it’s a skill that can be learnt and perfected.
If you’re interested in learning more about the art of listening, pick up a copy of You’re Not Listening. In the meantime, here are some quick active listening tips from samaritan.org that you can start to apply to your life today.
Show you care – focus on the other person, make eye contact, put your phone away, try to not steer the conversation towards yourself.
Have patience – Recognize that It may take time and several attempts before a person is ready to open up. Also, if they’ve paused in their response, wait, they may need time to articulate what they are feeling.
Use open questions – Use open questions that need more than a yes/no answer and require a person to pause, reflect, and expand.
Say it back – Repeating something back to somebody is a good way to reassure them that they have your undivided attention. And you can check to see that you’re hearing what they want you to hear, not putting your own interpretation onto the point.
Have courage – Sometimes it can feel intrusive to ask how someone feels but you’d be surprised at how often it is exactly what somebody needs to be able to share what is going on their mind. If they aren’t comfortable sharing, then that’s fine too.