Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and you get this feeling like they are not really listening to you? Or, the other person is speaking and the whole time you’re thinking about how what they are saying affects you? Or you’re thinking about how you are supposed to respond, or wondering about all the things you have to get done that day?
You are not alone. We all do it. We all talk and have conversations, but a lot of the time these conversations are superficial and disconnected. Most of the time these types of conversations are okay, but there are other times when we converse this way when we really should be listening in a deep way and trying to connect to the other person. The problem is, we are so used to ‘half’ listening (i.e. listening more to the conversation going on inside of our own heads while the other person is speaking) and not taking the time to really listen to what the other person is saying.
Here are seven steps to help you get in the mode of being a good listener when you really want to connect to someone and make sure that person feels heard by you.
- Stop what you are doing. (Get off the phone – better yet, turn your cell phone off!, stop doing the dishes, or reading your book, etc.)
- Take a deep breath and clear your head. (Sometimes it helps to close your eyes for a moment.)
- Say to yourself (or even out loud): “I am now going to be fully present with this person. I am only focusing on them and what they have to say, nothing else.”
- Listen with your mouth shut.
- Relax (you don’t have to have the answers – what most people really want is to feel heard.)
- Maintain eye contact.
- Listen to the words as well as the expression around the words.
Try this with your spouse, your children, your friends, siblings, boyfriend, girlfriend, or on your next date. Let the person with whom you would like to form a deeper connection with know that you really care about what they have to say.
In support and in awe of all that you are,