It really is that simple.
Listening shows value.
- About the conversation it says:
What you are saying matters to me. Perhaps I do not agree…or maybe I do…but right now, I choose to listen because what you are saying has value.
- About the person it says:
You matter. With all the distractions in the world: iPhones, laptops, deadlines, text messages, social media notifications – everything can hold at the moment – because I value You.
Practice active listening.
- Show the person that you are paying attention to them (and be sure you are!)
- Express this by your body language and by non-word verbal confirmations (such as “uh huh,” “I see,” and such – not interruptions & takeovers.)
- Do not judge but instead keep an open mind while listening to their perspective.
- Respond back and summarize what you are understanding from what they have said – this is not the time to state your opinion – this is simply to communicate that you are understanding their perspective.
Responding back by summarizing points the person has stated is a fantastic thing to do because it increases understanding from the conversation and really shows the person you were paying attention and you care about their opinion. And when/where appropriate then provide your thoughts on the topic. Just be sure to allow the other person to communicate their position and finish their thoughts first.
Listening to someone to truly hear what they are trying to say communicates to them that they are worth your time. By not listening to others, you are actually telling them that what they have to say is not of value to you – even if you don’t mean to!
So tonight. Tomorrow. This week – spread kindness by listening.
Website/resource about active listening: Mind Tools