Hello, loves! Wednesdays always make me smile because it’s the day I meet with the girls in my small group. These girls have become my best friends and are such a sweet part of my life. I could brag on them endlessly for the amazing women they are and how they have enriched my life, but I won’t take y’all down that path. Haha. One thing that they have taught me though is how to be an active listener.
Listening seems easy enough, but I’ve found it’s become more of a struggle given the constant social media pull we all feel subject to. I also feel like the more hats I try to wear the harder it is for me to focus. I am constantly finding myself “listening” to my husband speak, but really thinking about what I need accomplish within the next hour.
Meeting with my girl friends regularly has been a great way for me to work on my listening skills. It’s helped me learn to unplug and truly listen to what someone is saying. This skill is challenging, but will reap great rewards. I’ve found that when I’m truly listening my communication partner usually comments on how they really feel heard and listened to. Crazy, right? I think really do think we’ve all become accustomed to people glancing at their phones while we talk. I would argue we don’t even notice the glazed over look our speaking partner gives us when they aren’t really listening.
As I’ve tried to really work on my listening skills over the past year or so, I thought I’d share with you guys some of the things I work on. So, below you will find 8 tips for active listening. I do hope that you share with me what your tips are if you have any!
8 TIPS FOR ACTIVE LISTENING:
- get rid of all distractions – well, this one hits close to home. I am so bad at having my phone out while Travis is talking to me. It often causes me to glance at it and therefore make Travis feel invalidated and unheard. Keep your phone in your purse or in another room when talking with your person.
- eye contact – anyone else remember their parents telling them over and over to look people in the eye when they were little? Well, they were on to something. Eye contact alone makes someone feel heard. It makes them feel like you are engaged in what they’re saying.
- avoid filler words and phrases – I don’t know why, but we often have the urge to insert filler words or phrases. Things such as “omg you’re so right” or “oh, I totally agree.” Verbal feedback is a good thing, but using words and phrases just to say something or to agree isn’t doing much. They’re empty words. Listening quietly isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it allows your communication partner to control the conversation and really talk.
- body language – believe it or not, this is a big one. Obviously, don’t be doing things like reaching into your purse to check your phone. But focus on the smaller body language movements too like facing your communication partner. Also, try to be still. When someone gets fidgidty it often makes the speaker feel as if she is annoying the listener and that the listener is ready to end the conversation.
- provide feedback when warranted – try to only give feedback when necessary. When your speaker is looking for input or asking for your opinion, engage.
- implement speaker/listener – this is a silly term, but awesome strategy Travis and I learned in our first community group at Watermark. It works like this: the speaker say “XYZ.” Then the listener repeats it back saying, “what I heard you say was XYZ.” This allows the speaker to either say “yes, you heard me right,” or “no, actually what I said was —.” It’s a really great way to clear up confusion.
- validate – This one is important I think, but a hard one. When I say validate I don’t mean you have to agree with everything the speaker is saying. Rather, say something like “I’m proud of you for being vulnerable enough to talk about XYZ.” This let’s them know you’re a safe place and really hear them.
- dont interrupt – If you grew up on my mom’s side of the family then I suspect you are chuckling at this one. My mom’s side of the family (myself included) are expert interrupters. There are billions of times my husband will stop me mid convo and say, “Anna, please let me finish my sentence.” Whoops. Avoiding interrupting though helps the speaker feel like they can fully express themselves. It also keeps you from shifting the attention off of them and onto you. After all, it’s now always about us…. 😉
dress: lucca couture | sandals: similar, similar | earrings: sugarfix x bauble bar | sunnies: karen walker
photography: fort lion studio
This post was created in collaboration with with Lucca Couture. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting those brands that support Fleurdille.