Not long ago, I spoke with Mr. Tom Monaghan, who told me that he had been sincerely trying to be a better listener. He had been reading a selection of books and putting into practice different listening tips. While acknowledging the need for patience, he noted how beneficial it was to engage in meaningful conversations.
Of course, I was intrigued and asked if he would share the list of listening tips. As you gather to visit family and friends, I thought this would help you sincerely listen to other people. We have all experienced the hurt of knowing that the other person is not interested in what we are trying to communicate.
May we all try to live this virtue in the coming weeks and witness to others the sincerity of a disciple of Christ.
- It is not about you.
- Do not interrupt.
- Wait for a pause after the other party stops talking before you start.
- Do not think about what you want to say while the other person is talking.
- Do not finish other people’s sentences.
- Do not give advice.
- Ask questions – good ones.
- Turn your torso towards the speaker, if possible.
- Do not cross arms.
- Show you are listening, ask for clarification. Repeat what the other person said in your own words – say, “hmmm,” “really!” “Tell me more…” (Do this over and over.)
- Ask the other person, “What are you thinking about lately?” Followed with “What else?”… Do this again and again.
- Assume the other person is interesting and try to pull it out of them with questions.
- Just hearing is not listening. Practice active listening.
- If someone goes on and on, or you have a time issue, politely and tactfully let them know that you need to end the conversation.
- Never brag.
- Look at the person speaking and make eye contact.
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