Listening is a way of building rapport. When you listen to someone, you learn more about them. You understand what’s going on in their life, how they think, where they’re coming from, what experiences they draw on, and more. In turn, the person you are listening to feels that you understand them better; they are thankful for the support and the empathy you provide them by being a good listener.
Listening is essential for all kinds of relationships, whether professional, family, friendship, group member or other types. Strong listening skills will help you build strong connections with people you meet in your life.
Benefits of Being a Good Listener
Active listening builds trust and strong relationships.
The first step is to want to hear what they are saying. Don’t just hope they will stop talking soon – try to understand the person talking! Understand what they are saying, try to put yourself in their shoes, and empathize with what they are sharing. The instant you do this, you will find that you are a much better listener, which will inevitably bring you closer to the person speaking.
Communication is a challenge sometimes, and listening to understand could potentially correct a conflict by asking questions for greater clarity, enhancing your ability to understand the other person and build stronger relationships.
Intimacy with another person means you share your thoughts and feelings, be open to the other person, and let them know you are there for them.
Learning comes from listening skills. The more you focus on the information shared in class or with a friend, the more you are open to expanding your knowledge.
What about your environment — do you tune out with distractions or listen to what is happening around you. I could walk to music or listen to the music of nature.
How to listen better
Take time to let the other person know you are listening. If they say something funny, laugh. If they say something surprising, raise your eyebrows and look surprised. Again, we women do this naturally, but it’s important to remember that listening is the response to talking – so you shouldn’t hesitate to show your reaction.
If your reaction differs from the other person’s thoughts, don’t feel obliged to agree with what’s said. However, ensure the talker has truly finished telling her story before you offer an opinion.
If you are antsy listening, take three to five deep breaths, and return to listening mode. I find this centers me and releases the nervous energy I’m feeling.
How would you rate your listening skills? Are you an active listener or thinking about what you want to say when they take a breath? I’ve done both – been a strong listener and busy thinking about what I would say to them. Do you have the desire to increase your listening skills?
Women’s Group Topic
Being a good listener means limiting interruptions or not waiting for them to stop to express your views. Most of the time, we need someone to be attentive to communicate our stories to – and when you participate in a women’s group, you will have plenty of opportunities to be both the listener and the talker. Talk about how comfortable you feel just listening to others without jumping in with your thoughts.
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