When someone says, “I need you to listen to me,” how do you listen? (If it is your wife, you run. Oh wait, that’s “We need to talk.”)
- Keep doing what you are doing, nod your head and tell them you are listening.
- Say uh-huh every time they pause. Uh-huh.
- Constantly interrupt them with unsolicited advice such as “Here’s what you really need to do be doing, Hoss.”
Hard to believe but there are other options. What about asking them how they would like to be listened to? Here are three ways to listen:
- Passive listening: Just listen and say nothing. Most people just want to be listened to.
- Active listening: Listen to what they are saying and then when they are done, tell them what you heard. (“What I heard you say was…”) They will correct you if you didn’t hear them.
- Listening and advising: Listen to what they say and when they are done, make suggestions.
If you just want to be listened to, the very last thing you want to hear is advice.
How many times have you ever heard someone ask “How would you like me to listen?” I am guessing never.
© Greg Vetter 2017. All rights reserved.