Better ways to listen?

Lämmchen

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I was going to post a list of things I found online for listening tips but I'd much rather ask here what you think personally helps a person to be a better listener?
 

jsimms435

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Sometimes it is helpful to summarize or paraphrase what the person is saying or what you understand the person to be saying, so that you can be sure you understood them properly.
Also, freeing your area from other distractions so you can focus only on what they are saying. Go to a quiet place where you can hear them. Make good eye contact so you can pick up on nonverbal cues.
 

tango

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Very true, it's really very disconcerting to be trying to have a conversation with someone and see that every time they aren't talking they are fiddling with their phone or something.

Paraphrasing what someone has said can be useful, as long as it doesn't take the form that so many call centers seem to use. Personally I find it infuriating when someone essentially repeats what I said back to me, then continues in such a way that makes it abundantly clear they haven't actually taken anything I just said on board.

Another crucial thing is to listen with a view to understanding what the other person is saying. It's very easy to slip into the habit of spending the time they are talking thinking about what you're going to say next.
 

Josiah

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My wife will tell you what a wonderful listener I am.... what an expert I am on that.... what a powerful positive example!

I hope my wife doesn't see this....




.
 

Josiah

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Suggestions to wives.....

1. If you want your guy to HEAR you, speak TO him in the same room, with the two of you looking directly at each other. Don't say things at the other end of the house while the husband is listening to heavy metal music or out in the garage using the power saw.

2. It helps guys if the woman speaks in simple language - easy vocabulary, simply grammar. Guys aren't too good with language.

3. If helps if the wife ASSUMES nothing. Guys don't know a _______ thing unless you TELL them in direct, simple, easy, understood words. They don't do body language.... they can't read between the lines... they are unable to assume..... we are simple creatures.

4. If it's really important, the wife should say, "Now, what did I just say?" Or write it down. Probably both.

5. Remember, guys have less RAM than your IPhone. Don't take much to fill it up. If he's thinking or doing something else.... if ANYTHING else is using up some RAM, all you say may well just never compute. It's not his fault. He just doesn't have much RAM.

6. Don't take it personally. Your guy loves you.




.
 

tango

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Ha.... my wife still does that every once in a while. She'll just start talking from three rooms away when I'm running a drill or something, and then wonder why I didn't even know she was speaking let alone what she said.

She's hugely better than she was when we first got married, which is good. And, in fairness, every once in a while I also forget myself and do the same to her except she'll be standing next to the washing machine or the kettle rather than using a power drill (the effect is much the same, just a different source of noise).
 

ValleyGal

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My wife will tell you what a wonderful listener I am.... what an expert I am on that.... what a powerful positive example!

I hope my wife doesn't see this....




.
Hahaha 🤣

I picked up on the sarcasm immediately because I have a teammate with that same sense of humor! lol
 

ValleyGal

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What makes a good listener? Empathy! Identify with their feelings. That doesn't take much. It's as simple as saying a genuine "ugh!" when she's had an issue with her coworker, or an enthusiastic "that's great!" when she's had an extra fun day with the kids or solved a problem. And if she's having a really hard time about anything, just being quiet and being with her in it is enough for her to know she's not alone.

Tango, I understand what you mean about paraphrasing. I think what you are trying to describe is parroting, though - when someone simply repeats what you've just said. Yes, that is incredibly annoying. Paraphrasing is when you re-word what you think the other person is really trying to say. If someone says "You won't believe what that stupid boss of mine did now!" you can paraphrase by saying "your boss did something stupid and it really ticked you off!" You add a little of your own interpretation into it and invites the other person to open up a little deeper.
 

tango

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Tango, I understand what you mean about paraphrasing. I think what you are trying to describe is parroting, though - when someone simply repeats what you've just said. Yes, that is incredibly annoying. Paraphrasing is when you re-word what you think the other person is really trying to say. If someone says "You won't believe what that stupid boss of mine did now!" you can paraphrase by saying "your boss did something stupid and it really ticked you off!" You add a little of your own interpretation into it and invites the other person to open up a little deeper.
That's exactly what I'm saying! The sense that someone, usually in a customer "service" call center, clearly isn't listening beyond simply repeating everything you said back to you before getting back to their rigidly defined script. Presumably someone high up in management thinks it represents a good customer experience, but presumably that person has never been on the receiving end of it.

For myself I'd even be a little cautious with the paraphrasing - even though adding your own interpretation indicates listening and understanding rather than simply parroting it back word-for-word it's something I personally find irritating if it's overused. Personally things I like to see to indicate someone is actually listening is often little more than an occasional followup question to draw out a little detail and a sense that they are actually paying attention to me. The person who is constantly checking their phone or interjecting with "Mmm hmm" or "yeah" at totally random times isn't the person I'm likely to choose as a confidante - they are the ones who give the impression of enduring me talking until it's their turn to talk again.

One thing I find really curious is how many times I've found that talking to someone about a very detailed technical problem, even if that someone hasn't got the faintest idea what the problem is let alone how to solve it, can be useful in solving the problem. My wife knows that if I start talking about a techical problem in detail her best bet is to just let me talk and I'll figure it out for myself soon enough, but faster than I would if I didn't talk to her about it. She knows literally nothing about the subject matter - not even enough to ask a remotely useful question about what I'm describing - but sometimes explaining it in terms she might understand is enough to help me process the problem in a way that solves it. Many times when I've figured it out after using her as a sounding board she just laughs and says "glad I could help" :)
 
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