Can you recall the last time someone listened to you with interest, attention, without judgement and without speaking? We often find people with good intentions who want to help us solve our problems by giving advice and solutions. Sometimes, however, we just need a sounding board, a space to think, time to say out loud what we want to, what we need to.
It is within that quiet space when you think out loud that you hear your voice, the real you. It’s like emptying your pockets from coins, car keys, lip balm and cellphone. And as you empty your pockets, you feel a bit lighter. The same thing happens when someone listens to you with attention. So how do you help someone empty their pockets?
Here are three tips:
1. Empty your own pockets first. This means you need to consciously set aside any judgements or need to fix the person’s problem.
2. Maintain eye contact. This retains the connection with the person and the person knows that you are listening.
3. Keep silent. You will be amazed how much more people think better and find solutions to their problems when the person they are talking to doesn’t talk. Seem crazy? Why not try it out and share your experiences.
Listening is a skill that needs practice, so start practising today!