There is a person in every person’s life who they know they can seek out for advice, that one person who will always uplift you and help you to understand yourself better. I have people like this in my life. It appears that certain humans have a skill that enables you to open and feel comfortable in what you are saying, they have a strong understanding about what you are speaking on and give you the ear that you need at that time.
When I considered all the traits these people have I realised, it is listening skills – the ability to keep mouths closed and ears open, it is creating a space for a person to hear themselves.
When people come to us to talk, I would say 9.5/10 we will always reflect to that person a situation of our own. ‘That exactly what it was like with my friend so and so, and this is what I did.’ What we forget though, is that no two situations are ever the same. Though it is a natural way to reply by associating something to our own lives, we must remember that it is not our own lives.
When you begin to listen, really begin to listen, it becomes more than just the persons words. Look in to their eyes when they speak, see their body language, feel their energy, listen to their heart. Really the words and sounds are barely half of it. Like when a person tells you a lie, yet you know it is a lie – because you did not listen only to the words coming from them.
We have become so disconnected from our true communication that we have this requirement to make sound, to try to have people understand how we feel. We are so engulfed in constant contact, that real communication is lost. Nobody is really listening, everybody is just waiting to reply.
When we really begin to listen, we create a space for a person to be able to express themselves, usually what you will see unfold before you is this person will talk themselves through the answers they need.
I have acknowledged a need to listen more, not only to others but to myself.
So how can we become better listeners?
1. Be quiet, tune in truly hear the person.
2. Do not interrupt (this is my worst habit). When we interrupt, we give off the impression of being impatient or waiting to reply, hold onto your thoughts until the person is done.
3. Make eye contact, a lot of communication is lost when we do not look into a persons eyes, the eyes are the windows to the souls, you will ‘hear’ a lot more through eye contact than you will from words.
4. Give an acknowledgement that you have understood what the person has said by replaying the situation, without including opinion or personal experiences.
5. Give your full attention, how often have you been on your phone while talking and said ‘I am listening, just finishing this text’.
6. Be open minded, try to not attach your personal opinions to the persons life. Step into their shoes for the period of the conversation, live their story.
7. Let questions be minimal and only to allow a deeper understanding.
8. Allow time for silence, sometimes after a person has spoken, that time of silence will allow the answer to come.
9. Do not be in a rush.
10. Try to not let your reactions be shown on your face, keep a calm and friendly attentive face.
These 10 steps can also be applied when listening to your own thoughts.
Happy listening, happy learning,