In a conversation with others, how often are we only half listening?
If most of you are like me, many times I am already thinking about the next thing I’m going to say, or a rebuttal for the argument, or something else entirely.
By doing so did we miss something important or even the real underlying message of the person we are talking with?
Today in church we had a short lesson that incorporated 5 things good listeners do.
- Give them time – Give people time to respond and don’t be afraid of silence. People are still thinking when it is silent, and maybe that thinking time gets them to where they need to be.
- Pay Attention – We think faster than others speak. We should be paying attention to their words rather than already formulating what we are going to say next.
- Clarify – Ask questions to make sure you are understanding what they are really saying.
- Reflect – Paraphrase what you heard and how you understand things. This will help them know that you are listening and make sure there is no misunderstanding.
- Find Common Ground – We won’t always agree on everything. But we can usually find something that we agree on, even if it is a basic problem. In the end it may just be agreeing to disagree in order to not cause any undue contention.
These skills can be used to listen to anyone—at work, school, neighbors, church, and family. Think about them next time you have a conversation and you may find out a lot more about the person you are talking to than you thought.
From a spiritual or gospel sense the most important thing is to listen to God and Christ through the Holy Spirit. If we give spiritual things time, pay attention to what we feel, clarify and reflect through prayers or by discussing with someone else knowledgeable, and then find something that You and God can work on together to help better yourself, we can become not only a better listener, but a better follower of Jesus Christ.
As we become better listeners we become better friends, are able to help and support others, and become closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Let’s all try to hear and truly understand what others are trying to say to us before we answer.
Let’s listen more often and become better listeners.