4 Quickies To Improve Listening Skills

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention.” Thich Nhat Hanh

We like to talk, share our opinion, share about the stuff we do with people around us.  That’s cool. But we’re so used to do that we don’t know when to stop. We’ve forgotten how to listen in the non-stop share your mind on social media world.

Think about it how many of us are actually really good in listening to others. I know I mildly said suck at it. I’m guessing many of us do, if we dare to admit. :)

Here is how I realized it the other day. I had a conversation with someone, while she was explaining the difficulties she was facing, thoughts she was having about the situation, possible future plans. I listened and didn’t say a thing.

This is where I got myself lying to myself and her. In fact I didn’t listen at all, I appeared as if I was listening. Sure I heard what she was saying but I didn’t really listen.

To my own defense I really tried, but instead I was in my own thoughts, already thinking about possible advice I could give to help her.

I’m telling you, this is a habit I want to change.

Think about it, how many times have you tried to speak to someone, share something important with your friend .

All you probably want at this point is to voice out the issue and be heard.

You don’t want any advice or comments, just to be heard without interruption. You don’t their life experience either, good and bad, because that doesn’t make sense in your life anyway.

But most importantly you feel like disrespected and not heard. For some reason this kind of listening, makes you feel like you’re not important, and you can’t really explain why.

This is exactly, what I caught myself doing.

Ever since I noticed this in myself, I’ve tried to change.

This is how I’ve changed and improved listening to others. And hopefully become a better listener….with time. 

  1. Become a champ of patience.  Really listen, don’t wait the talker to be done. Notice some positive things about the person. The color of their hair, eyes, clothes. Just be there and listen. When we truly listen, we have deep eye contact and we’re fully in now. The thing is that the listener can really sense if they’re heard. So put some effort in it. It’s so worth it!
  2.    Don’t judge, react or comment. While listening, don’t thing about possible things to suggest or do, this is about the talker, not the listener. Silent your own ideas, thoughts and comments. In fact don’t say anything or come up with any comment. That allows understanding and compassion to come forward.
  3. Allow quiet moments. When the person is done talking, don’t jump into talking. Allow a little silence. That makes sure that the person who is talking gets a chance to think for a second, maybe they forgot something important, so allow them to truly be done talking.
  4.  Ask questions. This is where you can maybe help a little. You’ve probably remained objective about the issue, that’s if you haven’t jumped into giving advice. Ask questions! By asking questions, you allow the person find their own solution and feel proud about it. It puts the person in a position where they feel they’re in charge of their life, which they’re supposed to be anyway. Asking questions shows that this is not about you, but them. It allows them to stay true to their life experience and their ways of dealing it. Asking questions remains focus on them, not about you and your experience.

“Silent and listen are spelled with the same letters.” Author Unknown

Check this great chat about it. Skip the commercial!

This is a fab article:  For the leader in you 

Do share your tips about how to improve listening skills?

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30 responses to “4 Quickies To Improve Listening Skills

  1. Great advice. I’m going to practice it today!

    • I’m sure you’re don’t even need to practice this! :)

      • Oh I do! My mind goes a hundred miles per hour! I have a co-worker who pointed this out to me. I have often ended conversations at work when I just start typing an email or something! When he comes in now, I push my chair back from the keyboard!

  2. When I actively practice listening I find it powerful and I can actually feel the difference in my physical BEing.

  3. Reblogged this on wisejourney and commented:
    When I actively practice listening, I can feel the difference in my physical BEing. It’s surprisingly powerful.
    Listening – actively listening is a mindfulness skill. When your do this you will see how by observing how you feel, just as you might when you sit in silence with your self and practice BEing in the moment.

    I recommend you have a good browse of the posts on this website. The words and thoughts are always crystal clear, helpful when you need them and as a guidance tool in mindfulness for any day of the week. Have a terrific weekend.

  4. Reblogged this on wisejourney and commented:
    When I actively practice listening, I can feel the difference in my physical BEing. It’s surprisingly powerful.
    Listening – actively listening is a mindfulness skill. When your do this you will see how by observing how you feel, just as you might when you sit in silence with your self and practice BEing in the moment.

    I recommend you have a good browse of the posts on this website. The words and thoughts are always crystal clear, helpful when you need them and as a guidance tool in mindfulness for any day of the week. Have a terrific weekend.

  5. Thank you so much for posting this! I believe that we are good listeners when we do care for the person who is talking. I don’t like those people who pretend that they are listening but in the end they don’t remember a word from what I have said.

    • Great point Ruby! But my thing is that it’s not always possible to truly, deeply care for a person, accept yes, but not always love! I believe compassionate listening as an concious effort (not always perfect) is better than not listening at all. Constant efforts will start paying off one day. Btw, I’ve experienced myself that sometimes there can be other reasons for not being a good listener, like an headache, not sleeping enough, own worries. Though I could relate to what you mean. :) Have a great weekend!

  6. if you want to be close to your kids, listen to them when they speak. Look at them, put down what you are doing so they have your attention.

    and let your answer be space for them to continue.

  7. I did my Landmark forum recently and I came to know how poor I am in listening. I am working on my listening skill and your this post nails is rightly.

    I have recently seen this blog and I and following it. Excellent stuff. Thank you.

  8. Thich Nhat Hanh, wrote:

    Life is filled with suffering, but it is also filled with many wonders, like the blue sky, the sunshine, the eyes of a baby. To suffer is not enough. We must also in touch with the wonders of life. They are within and all around us, everywhere, anytime. (Hanh 1982)

    Pleasure and pain come equally to us. One day it rains; the next day it shines. We have to avoid getting hooked on rain (or pain), sun or pleasure. Whatever comes can be equal to us, is important for our life-long learning and listening. To become a part of the planet’s wonders, both inside and out, we need to learn to dance, listen and play like little children.

  9. Reblogged this on A Grateful Man and commented:
    Thank you for the thought-provoking post, Kristi, and for including the wonderful video of an interview on this subject with Thich Nhat Hanh. I especially liked his description about using compassionate listening for easing suffering, creating peace, and improving relationships.
    Russ

  10. Time is short, life is brief. So I can’t help it, I cannot switch off and let them talk themselves out. All they really want, perhaps, is a sympathetic ear. But my mind clicks in (it seems programmed to do so); the cogs whir, the little pivoty things go ‘clank’ (and/or clunk as appropriate) and I come up with ideas and suggestions. Some long-forgotten genius once noted that “Many a man would rather you heard his tale of woe than redressed his wrong”.

    Hell, if you want a Listener get a dog, they’re brilliant at that.

    The best use for listening is to sort the wheat from the chaff, to “Just the facts, Ma’am” as it were. Sometimes ‘compassionate listening’ is to feed and foster someone’s bad habit; thus diverting resources that they might otherwise be using to improve their lot?

    Hey! Are you listening~?

    • Absolutely. We should be picky listeners, not everything or everyone should get the attention. But I believe that the ones we decide to give attention, need 100 % focus. Thanks for always stand out point of views.

  11. Pingback: Best Moment Award 2 – Thank You ! | Your Inner Feathers by Ruby

  12. Great post! I really connected with what he said in the clip about saying to someone – I want to understand your suffering, I have not understood how much your have suffered, help me understand.
    Such a very profound and simple concept. :)

  13. Reblogged this on Natural Tastes Better and commented:
    I felt compelled to reblog this post because the feeling of not being heard or “invisible” may be one of the reasons a person uses food as comfort. Really listening to another person is so important and can be the best gift you ever give to another. We really never know what another person is going through, unless we truly listen with compassion.

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