By Ellen Fillette
Have you ever considered how many voices you listen to in a day? From the moment we wake up until the moment we drift off to sleep there is a whole chorus of voices that make up our day. We hear our spouse, children, family, friends, co-workers, the cashier at the grocery store, and so many more. We also hear the voices in our e-mail inbox, on our facebook feed, on the websites we visit, the new reports we read, the text messages that blast our phones and somehow we listen to all of these voices. But living in a world that bombards you with all of these voices can make it difficult to feel like your voice is being heard. And the truth is, there are a number of soft voices in our world that aren’t heard at all. So when those voices are shared with us, how do we honor them and show that we are listening? Try these three tips to beef up your listening skills.
Reflect like a mirror- listen to what this person is saying to you and then say it back to them! (It sounds like you’re frustrated by the situation with your boss.) Show them that you heard what they said by parroting it back in a new way.
Ask questions- Asking about what a person is saying demonstrates interest and connection. Can you tell me more? Was that tough? How did you deal with that? What do you mean by…?
Use silence– Silence is a powerful listening tool. It’s not awkward to allow a silent space (well, sometimes it is) but it is important to allow that space for a person to think, or muster up the courage to keep talking. More times than not, if you allow a moment of silence the other person will continue talking.