Conversations are a two-way street.
Mastering the art of listening can be a little tricky at first, but it is very learnable. Here’s how you can become a better listener in 3 easy steps.
Validate in a Few Simple Words
Whether we are excited, happy, scared or nervous about something, sometimes all we want is to be listened to and supported.
Here’s an example.
Have you ever called a friend just to vent?
You knew there was absolutely nothing they could do to change the situation, but you just wanted to let them in. All you wanted was a listening ear.
The next time a friend or family member calls you to vent, you don’t have to give them your two cents (unless they ask, of course.)
Simply using phrases like “I understand how you feel” or “Of course, that makes sense.” can help them feel at ease and listened to.
Listen With Your Body
Communication comes in many forms. As much as it’s important to say comforting words, it’s also as important to listen with your entire body.
Let’s say a friend is telling you a long story about something that happened to them. You don’t want to interrupt them, but you want them to see you are listening.
This is where facial expression and/or posture come into play.
You can smile, nod your head, sit up straight etc.
Sometimes body language can be stronger than words.
Hear What’s Underneath The Words
It isn’t always about what you say – it’s about how you say it.
Almost all of us have claimed to feel fine when in reality, we were not.
Saying everything is fine when it’s not can become a habit, and something we do without even noticing.
Of course, you know your friends and family well. If they seem a little stressed or overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to check-in and ask if there’s anything you can do to help.
As we discussed earlier, even if there is nothing you can physically do to change the situation, you can still listen.
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said” – Peter Drucker