How to Become a Better Listener: Why It is Vital for Any Relationship
Why is listening so hard?
What happens to our relationship if we don’t listen?
So, how can you become a better listener? Here are a few quick tips:
- Listen with the intent to understand not with the intent to respond.
- Make eye contact and pay attention to nonverbal cues, like body language and facial expressions. This will help you understand what the other person is feeling and thinking.
- Don't interrupt! Let the other person finish speaking before you jump in with your own thoughts or opinions. When you are having an argument, this can be difficult, but this is especially important during arguments.
- Try not to judge or criticize what the other person is saying. Just listen without judgment and try to see things from their perspective.
- Ask questions or paraphrase what the other person has said to make sure you understand them correctly. This will also show that you're paying attention and interested in what they have to say.
- Be patient and let the other person know that you are listening. This will make them feel heard, and hopefully encourage them to talk more about what's on their mind.
- Don't worry about saying the "right thing." Just listen without judgment and try to understand where the other person is coming from before responding with your own opinion or point of view. It may not be easy at first, but over time it'll get easier.
- Avoid distractions when talking with someone in person - turn off cell phones, don't multitask while they're speaking (try leaving work at work!), and keep conversations short so both of you have a chance to really focus on each other.
And remember: When people tell us things we don't want to hear, it can be tough not to react defensively. But if we can learn to listen with an open mind and without judgment, it will make the relationship stronger and more understanding. So, the next time someone tells you something that you don't agree with, try listening first before responding. You may be surprised at how much better the conversation will go!
- How do you feel about..?
- Do you like/dislike..?
- What are your thoughts on..?
- Can we talk about..?
- Where do you stand on..?
Why we need to practice active listening?