Effective communication requires active listening.
Listening is the ability to receive and interpret information that you just heard but listening is not the same as hearing.
Listening requires focus and concentration and you actually have to stop and pay attention to what the other person is saying.
You want to validate what the other person is saying, you might have to agree to disagree, but that’s better than completely devaluing what the other person has communicated to you.
And you always want to clarify to make sure that there are no misunderstandings.
For example you can say “Let me make sure that I understand what you just said,” then repeat what you think you heard.
You’ve been in those conversations when you know that the other person that you’re speaking to is distracted and not listening and you know how that makes you feel. We all want to be heard.
Lack of effective communication can cause so many unnecessary conflicts and difficulties. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason! We need to spend more time listening than talking.
Sometimes your loved ones and others around you are trying to share how they feel with you, but you spend so much time trying to figure out what your response will be and talking that you fail to listen and hear what they are actually saying.
And this can lead to a lot of hurt feelings and frustration.
I understand that listening can be difficult for a lot of people and if you struggle with this, begin to practice the art of learning how to listen with the intent to understand the other person.
James 1:19-20 says: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
Everyone should be quick to listen and slow to speak…We need to learn how to be silent and attentive when listening.
Remember: Listen and silent are spelled with the same letters. Sometimes the quieter you become the more you will begin to actually hear.
Listening tells the other person that you value what they are saying. Listening provides feedback. Listening helps you to learn new things. Listening can improve your relationships.
I love this quote from Rachel Remen:“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.”
Think about it are you a good listener or could your listening skills use a little work?
So, remember the next time you’re having a conversation with someone spend more time listening and Shhhhhhh!