Welcome back to the second of three blog posts that will discuss active listening. As I stated in the last post, listening is super important to healthy communication. I would even go out on a limb and say that if a couple does not learn to intently listen to each other, their relationship will not grow and mature.
We all know how it feels to be telling our spouse all about something that we are excited about only to realize they have not been listening. It can be frustrating, annoying or irritating. We can feel small or unimportant…that we are invisible or that our words have no value or worth.
The active listeningtechniques we covered in the last post were encouraging (to convey interest and encourage more talking) and clarifying (to get more information and help see the speakers point of view).
Here are the next two techniques to begin practicing:
Active Listening Technique #3:
Restating – Often when someone is talking with us, we listen to the first few phrases and then switch to thinking and formulating our response. Instead of following that path we could show that we are listening and trying to understand by restating what we heard the person say. Restating also helps us check the meaning and interpretation we have formulated. Some examples might be:
“So, you would like your boss to trust you more. Is that right?”
“I heard you say you are planning to go shopping on Saturday.”
“Are you asking me to stop and pick up some dinner for tonight?”
Active Listening Technique #4:
Reflecting – You might be wondering what the difference is between restating and reflecting. Reflecting goes beyond simply listening to the words being said. Reflecting is giving attention to understanding the meaning behind the words and what the person might be feeling. The listener makes an effort to connect with the speaker on a deeper level. You might find yourself saying:
“It seems that meeting today was upsetting to you.”
“So when the kids are acting up, it is exhausting for you.”
“When I do not call if I am running late or stuck in traffic, you begin to worry and then get angry because you feel I am being inconsiderate.”
Remember that listening takes action to be truly effective. Practice listening on a deeper level and watch your relationship blossom and grow.