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Listening Strategies - How to Be a More Effective Listener

April 02, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 139

One of the most common issues people are stumped by is good communication. We all want to feel heard and one of the most common obstacles to good communication is the sense that we are not being listened to. I find that people become preoccupied with what they are going to say next and, as a result, are not really listening to one another. The fear of not being heard actually perpetuates itself because no one is really listening. Each person in this situation is more concerned about speaking and not giving the gift of listening to the other.

My spouse and I have been together 32 years, married 30 of those years.We have always been committed to our relationship and have spent lots of time talking about it and learning better ways of being together.I have been blessed with a spouse who is open and receptive to change and honest about his needs.With all of this good work, we continue to struggle over communication.Often times, one or the other of us does not feel heard.When working it out, we discover that we both tend to get into the unhealthy habit of focusing more on what we want to say rather than what the other is saying.We are triggered by something we've heard, and then we are "off and running" into our own thoughts, opinions, or feelings about it, and ready to speak our mind the moment we sense a pause in the conversation.This causes frustration and we end up walking away frustrated and lonely.

Below are five tips to good listening which, ironically, also take care of the desire to feel heard. When you and your partner agree to practice these five tips, you will, not only feel heard, but you will be giving a valuable gift to one another.

1. Face one another. I know this may seem obvious but think about all the times that you have started a conversation with your partner as he or she is walking out of the room. When you can look eye to eye, you know you have the other's full attention.

2 .Put down the phone, paper, computer, etc. It is virtually impossible to focus on what someone is saying when also focusing on something else.

3. Turn off the television. Again, you want to pay attention to one another without distractions. It is amazing to me how many households have a TV going constantly.

4. Ask clarifying questions. Your partner may be talking about something that you don't know much about or that you are not so interested in. However, you ARE interested in your partner and how they think and feel. When you ask clarifying questions, it sends the message that you care enough about your partner that you want to understand what they are saying-even if it is not #1 on your priority list of topics.

5. Be will have your turn. Listening is the gift that "keeps on giving". When you practice patience and resist rushing in with what you want to say, the other person can appreciate that effort and be more willing to do the same.

Author: Margy Clair, MC, Life Coach and Licensed Counselor

Margy Clair, MC, LMHC Life Coach, Licensed Mental Health Counselor 253-853-5070

Source: EzineArticles
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