“Did you say something?”
Learning the Art of Listening & Not Just Hearing
Retraining your ears, mind, and heart to listen to someone.
Oddly, we can look directly at someone, and as they are talking to us, we hear them, but can’t remember what was said.
It’s so important as Christians and human beings that we be able to align our minds and hearts with our ears so we can adequately understand and remember a conversation, a church sermon, or someone pouring their heart out to us.
Listening vs. Hearing
Children are great examples of hearing, but not listening. You tell them they need to do something, and 5 minutes later they are still in the same position, not moving, and claim they never heard you.
Some adults are so disconnected when in conversation with others because they are not actively listening and later on they don’t recall what was said. The person on the other end of the conversation talking can genuinely be hurt or feel devalued.
One of the main culprits in our culture today for not being active listeners is devices. Our attention is held in bondage by technology and the need to feel connected becomes a priority.
What is active listening?
Generally, the attributes to active listening include interaction with the other person that is talking.
Connect with the person talking. Looking them in the eyes projects care and concern as well as validation that you are present in the conversation.
Verbally respond to them and don’t just sit quietly.
Sometimes repeating what they say in a paraphrased manner not only keeps you engaged, but is evident that you are listening. Many employees use this method to clarify what the boss is telling them when assigning tasks or jobs.
Withhold your opinion, advice, or rebuttal until the person has completed what they are talking about. A good example is if your friend has had a bad day at work and tells you about it, let them tell you what happened before you interject with a response.
How do I become a better listener?
- Put down the device and refrain from looking at it during a conversation.
- Look at the other person; eye to eye.
- Don’t allow your mind to wander or to be preoccupied with a rebuttal.
- Use body language to acknowledge that you are listening; head nods, expressions, etc.
- Allow the person to finish what they are saying before you respond. Interrupting someone talking is not only rude but can be hurtful.
- Respond to the person in a manner that you would want them to respond to you in; gentle and loving.
Value the One Talking
By placing value on the other person talking, you are training your mind and your heart to work together so that you actively listen. There are going to be many times in our lives that some conversations are ones we want to block out or run from because they are endless.
Would Christ tune someone out while they are talking or would He make the person feel loved and important while listening to them?