Monday, March 2, 2009

Do You Really Listen?

Do you really listen?

Or do you find that you're already thinking of your response when someone else is talking?

Communication is a two way street. Expressing your thoughts, feelings and opinions is ...only one half of the equation.


The other half is listening and understanding what others communicate to you.

Making the choice to actively listen may take time, focus and conscious effort. But it can be such a gift to another, especially in this busy world in which we live.

Do you like to share your opinions? Do you think you're an expert and others should listen to you? How do others perceive you?
Do you find yourself tuning out someone while they're talking to you if they're ...taking too long?
Children can often take time to express themselves. But oh, how well worth the effort of listening to a child's heart! It can help to let them know how important they are to you.

Spending time in activities while actively listening with your entire being ...can be so rewarding.

Older people sometimes take longer to express themselves. It may be hard to have the patience to sit and listen. But it can truly be a gift to make the effort and ...actively listen.

Do you remember the time when you first fell in love? Wasn't it so easy to focus all of your attention on each other as you listened to each word?

Here are a few tips to help develop the skill of actively listening:

  • Pay attention: Give the other person your undivided attention and look at them.
  • Show that you're paying attention: Your body language says much to the other person.
  • Give feedback: Ask questions to clarify. Paraphrase back what they are saying so you aren't distorting it with your own assumptions.
  • Don't interrupt: Allow them to finish.
  • Respond to what's being said: Be open and honest in your response but be respectful and courteous.

I really believe that listening to another can be such a gift of your heart.

If we spoke less and listened more, maybe our relationships would actually improve.

I'm sure that many of you may have more suggestions or even frustrations when trying to listen to others. I would love to get your feedback.

10 comments:

  1. This is something I constantly have to remind myself to do. I tend to talk more than listen so when I'm with someone I try to make a conscious effort to listen.

    I recently wrote about what the Biblical word for "hear" really means at my other blog No Ordinary Faith http://noordinaryfaith.blogspot.com.

    It was enlightening to me how hearing is really an active word rather than passive.

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  2. Such a good topic to focus on - for marriages or any relationship.

    I needed this today :)

    Good stuff, Debbie!

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  3. Wonderful post Debbie. It definitely makes me check my own heart!

    Bless you friend!
    Beth

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  4. I am guilty of thinking of my response before the other person if finished talking. I have a very active, almost ADD mind, and it takes a lot of focus to really pay attention. I try, but my mind just wanders sometimes. Especially if there is something else that needs to be discussed, it's hard to really concentrate on what is going on now without having the constant mental reminder going off. This article is a good reminder to work on that.

    ~ Kristi

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  5. Amen! One person at church years ago gave me the advice to never have a "running answer" when you are listening to someone (I have to admit that was something I had to work on). But it was well worth it!

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  6. Dear Debbie,
    Like the rest I truly am guilty of both interrupting and thinking of an answer before the other part has finished his speaking.
    It's so rude, selfish and cruel, especially to those elderly or very young ones still struggling to find the right words.
    The loss is mine. I miss of valuable contact and information.
    I was better, in my professional life. I then had to interpret mimics, blur words, even sign language.
    No problem, I communicated real well.
    Now I actually needed this reminder from you.
    Thanks
    From Felisol

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  7. Providing emotional comfort through listening is certainly not easy. After experiencing my own frustrations, I finally decided to write down my thoughts on the subject. Here's my list of do's and don'ts:
    Do
    Make it about the other person
    Acknowledge the frustration
    Listen with critical compassion
    Support and encourage
    Be available and follow up

    Don't
    Get frustrated
    Invalidate feelings
    Forget the trust placed in you
    Forget to practice

    You can read the full post here:
    http://blog.marcwong.me/2009/01/art-of-listening.html

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  8. just catching up on your blog ...

    this was a good post ... and i really enjoyed the one on your dad as well ... my dad died at 72 ... and my father-in-law passed on at 82 ... it's amazing how thoughts & memories are still so strong even years later ... they are such a part of our lives ...

    and i am reading streams in the desert too ... that book has just been SUCH a HUGE blessing! it seems that every day that i need an extra word, or hug ... or encouragement - it is there ...

    blessings on your week!

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  9. This is something Scott and speak to our children about often - especially Jordan who at the moment doesn't stop talking from the moment she wakes up until she is tucked into bed. She is 6. She is not a good listener at all. Challenging to be around and often makes for a very long day for our entire family - even with how much we all love her. I adore her and find it next to impossible to be with her for long spurts of time alone - she really doesn't stop unless she is asleep. It makes me appreciate being with others who are comfortable in silence. God has given us a cage to bridle our tongues with...two ears and only one mouth. Yet, it is very difficult for many to keep the cage closed.

    Great post and thought provoking for sure! Thanks again for the beautiful comments and encouragment! Scott and I are truly humbled by your love, support and prayers! Thank you for blessing us both!
    Love and hugs,
    Jill

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  10. What a great reminder of what is so very important. The Lord continues to grow me in these areas.

    Have a great week Debbie!

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I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

Am I a kid or what?

Am I a kid or what?

I love this place...Carmel, CA

I love this place...Carmel, CA