Today's Devotional Insight...
4 Simple Tips on How to Be a Better Listener
In my previous article, “The Art of Listening,” I noted that while listening well can be difficult, it is not complex. The difficulty lies more in our motivation and assumptions. The nuts and bolts are few, and assembly is much simpler than putting together an IKEA bookshelf.
1. Give signals that you are listening.
Your signals (or lack thereof) help or hinder the speaker’s own efforts to articulate. Use that face of yours. Look the speaker in the eye. Nod your head. Smile, frown, laugh, groan—whatever the remarks call for. Only by your signals does the speaker know that you are listening and the effects his words are having on you. I know of a person who gives full attention to whoever is speaking with him, but he listens with a stone face. The unintended effect is that he unnerves the speaker, which then hinders that speaker’s ability to articulate. A good listener signals that he indeed is listening.
2. Ask pertinent questions.
The speaker has in her mind her argument or her description, and she typically speaks as though you know the information she is leaving out. Ask for details. When she says, “they,” clarify who “they” are. Let Sergeant Friday be your inspiration. The speaker doesn’t have to give just the facts, but the simplest facts are what often give clarity. Pertinent questions keep the speaker and you on track. They also signify to the speaker that you are truly listening.
Today’s Pastoral Resource...
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