According to psychologists, our feelings start with our minds; our emotions with our heart. What we hear triggers our feelings , which is where we begin to process what we have heard. Our emotions then kick in and produce the physiological responses in our bodies.
Real listening is a full contact sport. It engages our entire bodies as we physically posture ourselves to receive or reject what we hear. Take notice the next time you are in a difficult conversation. Does your heart rate go up? Do you begin to sweat? Does your breathing change? All of these are signs that we need to lean in—not avoid the conversation. It means that you are moving outside of your comfort zone.
It means you are learning how to be an effective listener.
What makes a good listener?
Becoming an effective thoughtful listener takes time, but it also takes practice. Here are some tips to help us become better listeners:
1. MAKE PLANS TO LISTEN
Make sure you have set aside time to listen. Properly plan time to talk, especially in conversation where there is conflict or an issue that needs to be settled. Choosing the right time to listen is critical in becoming an effective listener.
Be strategic about becoming a better listener. Remove any distractions that might take you away from the conversation.
Movies are horrible dates on their own, because it does not allow for conversation. If you and your spouse have date night, make it a place where you can talk to one another, even if it’s just driving or going for a cup of coffee.
People in general want to talk without interruptions.
2. MAKE IT YOUR WILL TO LISTEN
Listening is a matter of will. While it may not be pleasant to hear what the other person is saying, make an concerted effort to actively listen. Check your body language and even your facial expressions so that you encourage the other person to talk.
3. AVOID ADDING STRESS TO STRESSFUL CONVERSATIONS
Is it stressful listening to others. Do others typically become stressful listening to you? Make sure you work to avoid adding stress or resentment when you need them to listen. Do not expect a person to listen when they are stressed. Give some space and time before engaging in a conversation.
Let us help...
Our Relationships Matter Seminar can help families, businesses, churches and other organizations learn how to become more effective through improved communication. For more information or to book the Dents, click below.