Three Steps To Be A Good Listener
October 5, 2021
“Can you please stop looking at your phone and pay attention to what I am saying!!”. These were the exasperated words from my wife this morning as she tried to get me to listen to what she was saying.
Her command jolted me out of the unconscious trance I was in, staring at my phone. I sheepishly put my phone away and paid attention to what she had to say.
As I reflect on the incident, I realize I was guilty of not practicing what I would advise others- how to listen well.
So, today I will write a blog post to remind myself and others what it takes to be a good listener.
I call it the three steps to becoming good at listening.
Shut Up And Listen
Listen to what is being said. In addition to keeping your mouth shut, you also need to quiet your mind. Only then will you be able to listen to what is being said.
Many times when the other person is speaking, we have other thoughts running through our minds. The mind wanders. So the first step is to be fully present when someone is speaking.
Listen With Your Body
There is no greater insult than ignoring someone who is speaking. Unfortunately, this is what I did this morning. While my wife was talking to me, instead of paying attention, I was doing something else.
When you are a good listener, you will physically show that you are paying attention by making eye contact and turning your body towards the person speaking with you.
Paraphrase What Is Said
After someone finishes speaking, you paraphrase what you heard in your own words. This way, you can be sure you heard correctly, and your listener also appreciates the fact that you are paying attention. I could have told my wife, ” I get it. You feel I am procrastinating. I will ensure that I resolve it by noon.”
Paraphrasing what the other person says is a great way to practice mindful listening. You can’t paraphrase what the other person is saying if you don’t follow steps one and two.
Listening is an art, and it takes a lot of conscious effort and mindful practice to become a good listener. This morning’s incident reminds me that I have more work to do to become a good listener. Writing about the incident will help me stay conscious and focus on improving my listening skills.