Ep. 27 How to Be a Good Listener
In this episode, we’re talking about how to be a better listener. Everyone really just wants to be heard! We all crave human connection and the understanding of our loved ones so when someone truly listens to us we feel like we matter. Laura shares her ideas about when to offer sympathy versus a solution, how to ask great questions that help people find answers and ideas for themselves, how to remember what people tell you so you can check in on them later, and even how we can get others to listen better to us.
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Here's a recap of what we talked about:
Remember that everyone really just wants to be heard! We all crave human connection and the understanding of our loved ones. When someone truly listens to us we feel like we matter — we feel understood.
How can we be a better listener?
Give the person you’re listening to your full attention!
Sometimes this means asking them to wait if you truly can’t give them attention in the moment — and sometimes it means stopping what you’er doing so you can really listen.
Try not to multi-task. A short amount of your undivided attention can make all the difference
Be aware of when to offer sympathy vs. a solution.
Try to understand what they’re wanting. Ask follow-up questions to make sure you get what they’re trying to say.
Start with sympathy and give solutions if they ask.
A third option: help them explore ideas and options for solving the problem by asking great questions:
What’s your ideal outcome to this problem?
What do you think you want to do?
How do you want to feel in this situation?
If you’re the one who needs a listener, know who you can go to for each type of help and be willing to ask clearly for what you want in that moment.
Be a trampoline not a sponge
“While many of us have thought of being a good listener being like a sponge that accurately absorbs what the other person is saying, instead, what these findings show is that good listeners are like trampolines. They are someone you can bounce ideas off of — and rather than absorbing your ideas and energy, they amplify, energize, and clarify your thinking. They make you feel better not merely passively absorbing, but by actively supporting. This lets you gain energy and height, just like someone jumping on a trampoline.” - Harvard business review - What great listeners actually do by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman
Remember what they told you and follow up with them next time you chat.
Try not to have an agenda other than being genuinely interested in them as a supportive friend.
How can we get others to listen to us so we feel heard?
Although we can’t control if others will be good listeners or not, when we are good listeners it gives others an example and allows them the opportunity to be better listeners to us! When we dedicate time to listen, they will more likely be willing to listen to us as well.
Understand who you’re talking to — are they a problem solver or an empathizer?
Try to not need them to validate you. Be confident in yourself and know you don’t need another’s approval.
links mentioned in this episode:
Kristin: Citrus Pear -Company that arranges classes to assemble freezer meals. Offers classes in Utah and Idaho.
Laura: Pandora Premium Family Plan (up to 6 accounts $15 a month)
Mr. Rogers documentary -Won't you be my Neighbor?
Harvard Business Review article on What Great Listeners Actually Do by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman: