1.) Let go of Preconceptions
Many times when we are listening to someone our minds have a tendency to hear, not what the person is actually saying, but what we think they are saying. The problem is that often times we are wrong. These types of preconceptions lead to frustration and arguments.
The solution is to take a step back, listen to exactly what the speaker is saying then confirm it with them. “Is this what you mean?” By doing this you will get a good line of true communication going.
2.) Listen With Care
Next to preconceptions, listening to respond is high on the communication breakers. How many times have you been listening to someone speak just waiting to put in your two cents' worth? Yeah, I’m guilty too. We all have opinions and we all want to be heard. The problem is that when we are listening to respond we aren’t really hearing what the other person is saying.
The solution varies based on the type of conversation. Sometimes it is acceptable to gently ask if you can interject your thoughts. Other times it is good to consider simply listening to everything the other person has to say without feeling the need to give your opinion just then. Remember, you can always revisit the conversation with your ideas later.
3.) Discuss Discussions
One of the biggest topics overlooked in communication is actually talking about how each party communicates. Some people have to get all their ideas out at once where others can be interrupted and it’s no big deal. Talk to each other about how you communicate and digest information so everyone has an idea of how to communicate clearly.
4.) Avoid Making it Personal
Even during personal discussions, it’s important to remember you can take a step back and listen to what the other person is saying without assuming it’s a personal attack or jibe against you. Very much like preconceptions, assumptions are a quick path to broken communication. Instead, listen with some distance and if you really think they are attacking you, a blunt, not sarcastic, “Is this meant to hurt me?” May help them to realize your feeling attacked and might shift the conversation to something more reasonable.
I conclusion, listening to those around us, especially a significant other or relative can oftentimes be harder than it seems. Try to practice good listening skills using the tips above to help your communication.
Have any good tips about listening of your own to share? Drop a comment and let me know!
I'm a woman who sees the world a bit differently. I've studied relationships, both through those around me, my own experiences & through traditional education on how human psychology affects our interpersonal connections for over ten years. This is my story, my advice, and my not so humble opinions.