Listening is powerful. Intently listening to someone builds respect, develops trust and it transforms our relationships. When we listen, we are better people, better colleagues, better leaders, better healthcare providers, better spouses, parents and friends. There is power in listening. Listening heals.
Listening is an important aspect of fostering new relationships while maintaining and strengthening the ones we already have. There are many ways to make someone feel heard.
Non-verbal Ways to Show You’re Listening:
- Make eye-contact – This shows the other person that you are focused on them and what they are sharing with you, that you’re really listening and understanding what the other person is saying. Focusing on your response or what you’ll say next rather than what the other person is sharing can be distracting, and you could miss what they are telling you.
- Nod your head – This small gesture illustrates to the other person that you are taking in what is being communicated. It goes hand in hand with eye contact and can actually help you stay focused on what they are saying.
- Open posture – Your stance communicates a lot about listening. An open posture shows openness, friendliness and a willingness to listen and understand. You can do this by not crossing your arms and relaxing your posture.
- Practice pausing – When someone says something that sparks an idea for us, resonates with how we feel, or even maybe a topic we know more about, it’s hard to not interrupt. However, interrupting can make the other person feel dismissed. As listeners, taking a few seconds to pause after they have finished speaking goes a long way in making the other person feel heard. And you might miss an important point the other person is trying to make.
- Be Observant – Take notice of the other person’s body language. Remember, sometimes we have to listen for things that are unsaid. Noticing their posture and body language can communicate a lot to you on the best way to respond to express empathy.
Things You Can Say as a Listener:
- I hear you.
- That seems really important to you.
- Thanks for sharing that with me.
- How do you feel about that?
- Can you repeat that again? I want to make sure I heard it right.
- That’s an interesting perspective. Tell me more about that.
- Oh interesting! Tell me more.
- We can talk about me later. Tell me more about you.
- Tell me your thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them.
- I want to understand your opinion. Can you tell me more?
- Tell me about yourself and what’s been going on.
- How does that make you feel?