Ok, how would you like to see your skills in communication dramatically improve…TODAY! The simplest step you can take is to improve your ability to listen.
When you increase your listening capacity, you increase your ability to understand. When you increase your ability to understand, communication becomes a lot easier.
James 1:19 says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” God gave you two ears but only one mouth, because he wants you to listen twice as much as you talk. That statement carries with it much wisdom. No doubt we would be less likely to spark off in anger in our relationships if we would take the time to listen to what others are trying to get across.
So how can you immediately improve your listening ability? Easy! Avoid listening limiters and develop your listening disciplines.
So what are listening limiters that you should avoid?
- Making assumptions. Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers before listening—that is his folly and shame.” Often we observe something or hear what someone says in a certain way and then we jump to conclusions. “Oh she is just mad at me because I am late.” Well maybe she is, but maybe it has nothing to do with you. You don’t really know until she tells you.
- Displaying impatience. It takes time to communicate. It is not something that is easily rushed. Especially in family life. Impatience can drive you to draw assumptions too quickly. It also is disrespectful. People with whom you are communicating want to sense that you care enough to really understand them. That takes time and time takes patience. Cut out the time you need patiently listen.
- Exhibiting pride. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” Many of us are more concerned with looking smart rather than being smart. If we are really going to listen we must put aside pride and assume we can learn from others. You can learn from every encounter and from every person. Pride will always frustrate communication.
Ok. If those are tendencies to avoid, what are the skills you should develop?
- Focus on more than mere words. Communication involves so much more than mere words. Most experts will tell you that words only convey about 7% of our communication. Voice tone actually comprises a whopping 55% of our communication clues and the last 38% comes from our body language. What does this mean for you? It means if you want to listen better you must do more than listen to words. You have to listen to voice tone and pay attention to body language. That means that the most important relationships in your life need to be nurtured in person. Face to face is necessary for the deepest of intimacy to be developed between persons.
- Practice engaged listening. What does that mean? Simple, it means you lean into the conversation. You tune everything else out and you give someone your undivided attention. Now is not the time to text or watch the ballgame. Now is the time to look them in the eye, lean forward and listen closely. This conveys respect and greatly heightens your sensory acuity.
- Make detailed observations before drawing conclusions. Really look at what they are saying, how they are saying it, and how they carry their body. Take in all the clues. Then when you draw a conclusion, tell them what you think they are saying and have them confirm if you are correct.
Do these simple things and you will be amazed at how much easier it can be to understand other people in your life. In addition, they will notice that you cared enough to really be attentive. That wins relational points and makes you more effective in the lives of people.
Question: What are tips you can share that can improve our ability to listen and understand the people in our lives? You can leave a comment by clicking here.