Listen, really listen

February 18th, 2012

Over the years I have had friends and workmates tell me that I am a good listener. They often make the comment after we have had a coffee and chat together.

One of the reasons why I think people have said this to me is because I make a conscious effort to listen. Here are a few things I try to do…

1. Focus on the person – When someone really needs to talk I try to stop all I am doing and give them my full attention. I turn towards them and look at them. It makes a big difference.

2. I listen intently – In a world that is fast paced and busy many people feel that at times nobody really listens to them any more. Sometimes as Christians we need to give people the gift of our ears and our eyes.

3. I paraphrase – I try to repeat back to the person what they are telling me. I might say, “Is that what you are saying?” or “Am I understanding you correctly?” This allows them to correct me or know that I have really heard them.

4. I try not to judge – When I am listening I try not to judge the message or what they are saying. I just try to fully grasp what they are saying. I don’t have to agree as I may only be a sounding board at this stage.

5. I don’t offer suggestions – My first aim when listening is trying to understand their problem, situation or pain. First off I am not trying to help them or fix their situation. It is about hearing them fully.

Once I have done these things I feel I am in a good position to offer the help or support that is needed. Sometimes all that needed is just a listening ear and we are done.

If you are wanting to be a good friend or help to the people around you, you might like to try some of these things. Giving people the gift of hearing them can make a big difference to their lives.

God Bless,