Being a Good Listener
I’m buzzing after every conversation with my aunty, Narelle. She’s the sort of person who you love having a chat with. She always seems to be invested in what’s going on and seems to really hear what you’re saying. You know her total focus is on you, and I leave every conversation feeling valued and heard.
Listening isn’t just about our hearing.
It also includes our non-verbal communication too. Making eye contact and facing the person we are having a conversation with shows that we are interested and invested. Nodding along can reassure that you’re following along with what is being said. This is part of active listening and helps us to be fully present in the conversation and shows the people we are chatting with that we value their time and perspective.
When we listen to understand, not to reply, we are focussing on hearing the conversation.
We can rephrase what we hear the person saying to show them that we are hearing them. We are not trying to problem solve or think of a follow up question in our heads. We are giving them the space to share their perspectives, not centering the conversation on our thoughts or response. Of course asking questions and considering your own thoughts and perspectives are part of conversations. It’s normal.
Silence is ok.
In fact, I encourage you to consider how comfortable you are with silence. Giving yourself space to earnestly think about the comment being made or the emotions being brought up shows respect. Often those uncomfortable with silence can dismiss a conversation before it’s truly begun, or not ‘hear’ what’s being said. They want to fill in the gaps.
- Body language is important. Conversations don’t just happen through words. Consider what message your body language sends to the recipient.
- Rephrase to show you’re hearing what they’re saying.
- Listen to understand, not just reply
- Be comfortable in the silence