Rules for Effective Listening
Perhaps you have been a poor
listener. Merely deciding to try to listen harder will not work. You
must discipline yourself and make a firm commitment to improve this
skill. Here are six ways you can practice listening with feeling on a
Maintain good eye contact.
Focus your full attention on hour partner. (Turn off the television
and put down the paper.)
Sit attentively. For a
few minutes act as if nothing else in the world matters except
hearing your partner out. Block all other distractions from your
mind. Lean forward in your chair.
Act interested in what you
are about to hear. Raise your eyebrows, nod your head, smile, or
laugh when appropriate.
Sprinkle your attentive
listening with appropriate phrases to show agreement, interest, and
understanding. Your partner wants to know that you understand
the ideas he’s presenting. Try to think through what he is saying
and fit it into your own experience.
Ask well-phrased questions.
Give encouragement by asking questions that illustrate your
Listen a little longer.
Just when you think you are through listening, listen thirty seconds
Do you have a communication
problem? During the next week focus your attention not on your mate’s
failures but on your own. Being aware is only the first step. Next,
set about to correct the problem. And last, follow through in an
attempt to upgrade your communication with your loved ones. If you are
uncertain whether a problem exists, ask your mate what he dislikes the
most about the way you talk or listen.