Wednesday, April 02, 2008

are you REALLY listening?

As promised, here are the good listening points. Once again, my comments are in parentheses.

Good Ways of Listening

• Face the person to whom you are speaking. (No one wants to look at the back of your head. Unless, of course, they can't stand the sight of you.)
• Use "open" gestures. Scowling and having your arms crossed prompts defensiveness in the other person.
• Maintain good eye contact, but don't stare. (If they've got spinach in their teeth, don't stare at that either. Just go ahead and tell them about it so you don't have that distraction.)
• Use open-ended questions that lead to further discussions and responses: "Tell me why . . . " "Can you explian . . ." "What do you think . . ." (But be careful your questions are conversational and not interrogating.)
• Ask clarifying questions. (Sometimes RL thinks I'm not listening when I do this. But it's really that I'm trying to make sure I'm not misunderstanding what he means.)
• Offer supportive and comforting comments. (Now this can be tricky, because you don't want to sound pratronizing or condescending.)
• Use an understanding response: This indicates the listener is seeking to fully understand what the speaker is really saying.

I'll leave you with one last thought:
You have two ears and one mouth and you should use them in that proportion - listen twice as much as you talk.


FTN said...

Active listening is a social skill that everyone needs to develop. The best trait of a good conversationist is asking questions.

Sailor said...

I was always taught the same thing, listen twice as much as talk. Some great reminders here, thanks again!

Melissa said...

I'll have to remember the "listen twice as much as you talk" point!