Has this ever happened to you? You’re talking to someone and they turn to look at the television. Do you feel like you’re being heard? It’s hard to not wonder if they would even notice if you just stopped talking.
I had this happen to me recently and I literally stopped talking mid-sentence. It took the man who was across from me a minute to realize I had stopped talking, and then said he wanted to see the scores (obviously ESPN was more important). He didn’t hear a word I was saying because he then asked me what I was saying and wanted me to repeat myself.
Was he intentionally being rude? I don’t believe he was acting with malice, but his actions spoke volumes. I was a little shocked and then I was mad. If on a first date you can’t be completely involved in the other person you’re sitting across from, then that’s a good sign that this will be the first and only date.
This doesn’t just apply to dating, but to all aspects of life. How you listen to your spouse, kids, co-workers, and friends, it matters.
It has seemingly become more difficult to be a good listener. We have constant distractions: television, phones, kids, etc. When was the last time you sat face to face with someone, no distractions and talked to each other, and LISTENED?
We can all carry on a conversation, but actually being a good LISTENER matters. Here are 4 tips to help you become a better listener.
- Look into the person’s eyes. This may sound so trivial, but sit across from them and LOOK AT THEM. Let that person know you are paying attention.
- Don’t interrupt. When you start speaking, you have already stopped listening. Let the person finish what they are saying before you respond.
- Don’t just listen with your ears. Notice a person’s body language. Sometimes a person is saying they are fine, but their body language is telling you something different. Pay attention to that. Notice how their voice changes if they are getting excited or upset. We don’t just talk with our mouths; so don’t just listen with your ears.
- Every person wants to feel heard. We want to feel noticed, validated, and heard. Give the person in front of you enough respect that you give them that feeling of being listened to.
The next time someone starts a conversation with you, put down your phone, turn off the television, and stop what you’re doing. I know this isn’t ideal in all areas of your life, but at least make the effort to not be multi-tasking all the time.
Look into the person’s eyes and listen. You will feel more connected to the person you are communicating with, and you might be surprised how much better you feel when you have given someone your complete and full attention.