Preview: Listening is not easy, but incorporating these three tips to help you listen will help you ensure other feel heard and loved.
How often have you found yourself only half listening to someone?
Yeah, me too. It happens too often! My mind wanders, and I start thinking about everything I need to do. 🙄
I realized one day that if my life depended on it, I would listen with my full attention. I would listen intently to the speaker. I might lean in so I could hear every word. I would probably paraphrase and make sure I understood what was said. So why don’t I do that in everyday conversations? I can apply the same level of intensity when I’m listening to other people and help them feel loved and heard and be truly present with them.
I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that help me to listen as if my life does depend on it. In this article, you will learn three tips to help you listen that you can apply to any conversation.
The first tip to help you listen is to physically focus on the speaker. Put down your phone or work and focus your attention on the speaker. If I am working in the kitchen or folding laundry, I’ll take my earbuds out so my daughters or husband know that I’m paying attention to them.
You might need to teach your children how to get your attention respectfully so you can stop what you are doing and give them your undivided attention. I’ve taught my daughters to put their hands on my arm when I’m speaking or in the middle of a project. When I needed to have focused work time, I placed a sign on my office door to not disturb me.
The next thing you can do is to mentally focus on the speaker. Look at them; give them your undivided attention. Push aside all the thoughts of what you need to be doing and the other rabbit trails that pop up while someone is speaking.
I find that my thoughts still sometimes wander, so I imagine putting blinders on like you might see on a working horse. I imagine putting my hands beside my head as a reminder to focus on the speaker.
Tip 3: Listen To Understand
The last tip to help you listen is to listen to understand. We default to listening to a conversation to determine what we want to say next. When you are planning your next comment, you are only half listening. Instead, really listen and try to understand. You could paraphrase what you thought the speaker said and ask if you understood correctly. You could practice empathic listening and say something like, “That must be really hard. It hurts whenever someone says things like that to us.” They will know that you heard and understood what they said, and you know what it feels like.
Listening Helps Your Focus On What Has Eternal Significance
Charles Hummel said to focus on the things that have eternal significance. Listening to those with whom you’re engaging has eternal significance. You have an opportunity to build relationships and connections. But it’s hard, especially with all the distractions in our daily life. The next time you listen to your three-year-old tell you about what they found in the yard, your 10-year-old tell you about something that happened during their day, or your 17-year-old tell you about a struggle they are facing, incorporate these three tips to help you listen intently.