How to Listen

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Roni Beth Tower, Ph.D., ABPP writes in Psychology Today writes about how important listening is to a relationship. Yet in our modern world, surrounded by technology, we struggle to feel connected to other people and our listening skills suffer. Tower provides suggestions on how to be a better listener.

When listening you need to be able to actually hear what the other person has to say.  This may sound counterintuitive, but often we engage in conversations thinking that we already know how the other person is going to finish their sentence. Instead, by listening we become open to hearing the others person’s perspective which creates understanding.

How a person expresses themselves through gesturing, body language, and how they use their voice is also important for listening. Sometimes what a person says and how they physically express themselves are quite different.  Additionally, when the other person does speak pay attention to the words they choose and how they use them. This requires using all of your senses in order to draw in all of the relevant information in a discussion.

Another listening skill is being aware of and OK, with silence. In our society pauses in conversation come off as being awkward. However, that person may need a moment to formulate their words or organize their thoughts into something that is coherent and understandable.  Respect these moments and don’t be tempted to fill in those gaps.

When we do engage in conversation, especially one that is interesting or engaging, we don’t want to miss anything that is said. This can be helpful as this draws our attention so that we are not distracted. Be mindful of this and don’t let other things not relevant to the conversation draw you away.

Tower points out that there are four reasons why people listen. These are to:

  • Connect
  • Learn
  • Understand
  • Help

Want to learn more about how to listen? You can read the full post here:  52 Ways to

Show I Love You:  Listening.

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