Good day to you and yours. I did not want to go another day without blogging to let you know what’s going on in my world. This month has been a bit hectic to say the least. I am most excited about getting more involved with community based initiatives as well as opening my heart to new things. The more diverse people I encounter, the more I realize that we’re all really the same at our core. Joy, pain, laughter, and compassion have no color. They are felt universally regardless of gender, ethnicity and economic status. I’ve spoken with people that range from the impoverished to the extremely wealthy. Again, their basic needs are the same. People really want to know that they matter and that someone genuinely cares for them. One of the greatest gifts you can offer someone is the gift of listening–being fully present to give uninterrupted attention to their words…their voice…their person. I really believe that listening is an art. I feel there are seven basic keys that are needed to be a good listener:
1. Emotional Clues: Be a person who can easily perceive the emotional state of another. This might include observing facial expressions that could point to various emotions such as anxiety, happiness, fear, passion, etc.
2. Eye Contact: Make a practice to actively listen with your eyes. Giving a person direct eye contact (while they are speaking) denotes that you are fully engaged in the conversation. The person is more apt to share his/her thoughts and feelings with you if they see you are “all there.”
3. Timing: Discern when to speak and when to be quiet. Interject your thoughts at the the appropriate time (without cutting the other person off). Sometimes words are not needed; your mere presence may often be more than enough.
4. Tone of Voice: When you’re speaking, try to use calm, steady tones as opposed to loud and abrasive tones. This tends to bring a certain comfort level to the conversation.
5. Body Language: Take note of both your and the other person’s body language. Make an effort not to be distracted by things that may divert your attention off of the conversation. Being easily distracted can be taken as a sign of disinterest.
6. Verbal and Nonverbal Language: Attentively listen to what is being said and what is not being said. They both are equally important.
7. Understanding: Make sure that you have the correct interpretation of what the speaker is saying. I find it helpful to restate what has been said by using words like, “I get the impression that…” or “It seems to me that you might be feeling…”
Listening and communication are key to any type of relationship. It involves a lot of subtle cues, perception and inferences that are not always obvious. With practice, you can become a good listener if you desire to be. As often as you can, be on the lookout for someone who may need a listening ear from time to time. You’d be surprised at how that can be a tremendous blessing to them….or maybe even you!
May peace and prosperity be with you always.
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