When was the last time you were told to listen to somebody? “Listen to your mother! (or dad, teacher, etc). But listening to somebody can be hard work, especially when you don’t want to listen. Listening is a super important part to any relationship, as I am sure you have experienced the frustration that happens when someone isn’t listening. You might as well be talking to the wall! That’s why learning these three parts to listening is gonna help you be a relationship superstar!
This first part of real listening is probably the most obvious. You can’t really listen to somebody if you can’t actually hear what they are saying (unless you can read lips or you know sign language, which is really cool). The things that interfere with us hearing the words can come in all shapes and sizes. Maybe we are too focused on our phone or the TV or we are just plain spacing out. These distractions literally and figuratively prevent us from hearing the words that others are saying. So if you want to become that relationship ninja, start by unplugging and focusing in on the other person. Look them in the eyes. Make sure you are mentally present. They will know you are hearing them and will respond better too.
2. Soak it in.
Hearing the words really isn’t good enough though. You got to process what you are hearing. This means that you are watching their body language as well as noticing your own. Are they happy? Sad? Angry? How can you tell? Are you happy, sad, or angry? What are you telling them by your body language? Being mindful of these nonverbal clues will help you get on the same page as the other person. You are now one step closer to relationship awesomeness.
3. Listen by… talking?
Yep, you read right. In order to really listen you need to talk back to the person, just not in the way you think. You need to use your words to confirm what they are saying. This is called validation. It means you ask questions like, “So you mean you feel…because…? Is that right?”. Real listening means you are taking part in the conversation by rephrasing what they are saying to make sure you are understanding them correctly. This validation will confirm to whoever you are talking to that you have understood their feelings. This also will help both of you feel on the same page.
You have now been blessed with the three keys to effective listening. You can become the most awesome communicator just by using these three steps and you will begin to establish awesome relationships. Don’t believe me? Try it out! I’ll bet you will be surprised how awesome your communication gets as you apply these skills.
You are now a listening ninja master (at least you can be). More relationship ninja skills to come!