The key is to pay attention to people rather than the problem itself.

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Editor’s Note: Listening ability is an important skill that we often overlook in the process of interpersonal communication. Being a good listener is not difficult, but it can bring you great returns. The most important thing is to focus on people rather than the problem itself. Don’t try to give suggestions for solving problems. Unless others explicitly ask for them, you can also ask for open questions and keep feedback during the communication process, while actively encouraging each other. Emotions, but don’t forget to admit your own normal emotions. This article is translated from medium, article author Nick Wignall, the original title The 5 Habits of Exceptionally Good Listeners.

Want to be a good listener? Try these 5 tips

Image source: Jonathan J. Castellon / Unsplash

In all relationships, the most important skill is to learn to be a good listener.

The irony is that the idea of ​​being a good listener is so well known that it becomes a cliché, however, most of us are not good at listening. Just like eating healthy or exercising regularly, we all know that this is good for us, but we don’t necessarily do it.

Fortunately, if you know where to start and are willing to practice, it is not difficult to be a better listener. I have provided 5 practical suggestions in the text that anyone can practice and become a good listener. If used properly, this skill will greatly improve the quality of all your important relationships.

1. Focus on people, not on issues

The inner thoughts of most of us are the first to solve the problem.

A powerful biological survival instinct motivates us to identify, analyze, and solve problems with a universal cultural value—around personal accomplishments and defects—so we are constantly looking for problems and trying desperately It is not surprising to solve them.

Although our ability to solve problems is very helpful in life, in some cases this is exactly wrong. In other words, when people just want to be listened to, understood, and connectedWhen you come, solving problems and making suggestions can produce counterproductive results.

To be a better listener, focus on people, not the problem itself.

When a person feels scared, angry, depressed, or upset, the last thing they want is to feel that they are a burden or feel that they have something wrong. But when you take the initiative to give advice to those who are struggling, you will make them feel that they are a problem.

Be sure to take the time to give advice. Fortunately, I can tell you when to give advice to others: when someone mainly seeks advice from you!

Before that, put all your wisdom words aside and focus on listening.

2. Ask open questions

In most cases in our lives, asking questions is for answers. Often, the simpler the question, the clearer and more useful the answer. In other words, we all tend to ask questions to encourage each other to give a short answer. In other words, we tend to ask “closed questions.”

But such problems will prevent you from becoming a good listener. Of course, a good listener usually needs to ask some questions. But how do you ask questions and ask questions, but there are many ways to do it.

Dialogs are not just about exchanging information, but conversations can also contact you.

For example, when a family member or your spouse is upset, the goal of becoming a good listener is not primarily to find out why they are upset or to help them determine the next step. Instead, your goal should be to support them, give them sympathy, give them encouragement, and let them feel that you are in relationship with them, they are not alone.

Open questions indicate that you are interested in the other person and care about each other. Closed questions indicate that you only care about information, so:

  • Don’t ask “why are you sad”, but ask “How do you feel.”

  • Don’t ask, “Is it too stressful?” Instead, ask “How is your work late?”

  • Don’t ask, “Is it criticized by your mother again?” Instead, ask “What happened when you communicated with your mother?”

If you’re not sure, try these few open-ended questions, which usually apply to any situation:

  • What did you feel at the time?

  • Can you tell me something about it?

  • How do you feel?

  • How do you feel now?

  • What are you thinking about?

The key to being a good listener is to focus on people and not on other information.

There is a little trick: when asking a question, don’t start with “why”, but start with “what” and “how”. “Why” can create a feeling of being questioned and judged, while “what” and “how” feel more neutral and true.

3. Keep feedback during listening

Many years ago, when I attended the training of therapists, I remember that I felt that feedback listening was the most stupid thing I learned. But after seven to eight years, I think it may be the most useful thing I have learned.

Feedback listening means repeating (usually in your own words) what the opposite person said. For example:

  • The other person said: I can’t believe that Tony would say this to me! What I thought in my mind was “Who do you think you are?” Worse, no one actually speaks for me! Your feedback: It sounds like you’re a little off guard.

  • The other person said: I am just sad and feel very angry. There are countless things that flash in my mind, I just don’t know where to start or how to move forward. Your feedback: It looks like you are really overwhelmed.

  • The other person said: You are always immersed in your own affairs, so that you never really heard what I was talking about. Your feedback: It sounds like you are saying that I didn’t listen to what you said.

When I first started doing this, I felt very strange, because it seemed to be a feeling of salting the wounds – they knew how sad they were, so why should I repeat them again?

But don’t forget that the point we focus on is not on the information, but on making the other person feel that they are understood.

When we give feedback to what others have told us, this shows that we care about them and we are listening carefully what they say.

In other words, feedback listening makes people feel that they are actually being listened to. When people feel that they are being listened to, thingsIt will develop in a good direction, no matter how bad the situation is.

4. Recognize each other’s emotions

As we discussed above, feedback on what others say can build trust and confidence, and let you understand and care what they say. Similarly, when we recognize and confirm each other’s emotional feelings, we will send a more powerful message, that is, we understand them at a deeper level and are with them.

The term emotional validation sounds professional and complex, but it’s simple: it means showing others that their emotions are valid.

Here are a few examples that are the same as above:

  • The other person said: I can’t believe that Tony would say this to me! What I thought in my mind was “Who do you think you are?” Worse, no one actually speaks for me! Your feedback: It sounds like you are really angry and disappointed with Tony and your colleagues.

  • The other person said: I am just sad and feel very angry. There are countless things that flash in my mind, I just don’t know where to start or how to move forward. Your feedback: I know how sad and angry you are.

  • The other person said: You are always immersed in your own affairs, so that you never really heard what I was talking about. Your feedback: Yes, I know why you were angry with me because I didn’t listen to you well.

Emotional recognition is like Harry Potter’s magic. When we are upset and the people across us admit our pain, something almost miraculous will happen – not in the way of solving the problem, but in a simple and direct “I understand your feelings” The way.

From birth, most of us are trained to think of our “negative” emotions as negative, things that need to be eliminated or repaired. This makes us all feel deeply anxious and guilty.

However, when we recognize others’ emotions by simply pointing out and acknowledging that we understand others’ emotions, we give others an incredible gift: the right to feel the emotions of others without shame or fear.

If you develop a habit of recognizing the emotions of others, then any relationship you make in interpersonal relationships, big or small, can be significantly improved.

5.Admit your emotions

Nothing can hinder you from being a good listener more than guarding your heart.

Warning is the explanation that psychologists do for people to feel threatened in a relationship:

  • Your spouse made a seemingly ironic comment on your new shoes on the way out.

  • Then you feel insulted and hurt, and getting angry, counterattack that she is always so negative and critical.

  • As a result, your spouse will naturally feel hurt and angry, then silence and have a very silent and awkward dinner with the neighbors.

  • You start thinking about whether this is the life you want and start to imagine how good life will be if you marry another person.

Like all animals, when we feel attacked, we tend to fight back or run away – sometimes physically, but more spiritually. Although the alert was originally caused by fear, it quickly evolved into various other negative feelings such as anger, resentment, guilt, shame, and so on.

The problem is that your alert mentality, defense system, and all the intense emotions they produce are really helpful when you are really attacked, but when you just feel that you are being attacked, it can lead to a fuss.

Unpleasant conversations often turn into quarrels and struggles, because some people become wary, and finally say or do something that hurts others because of their guard–in this case, initially The problem has long ceased to exist, and the whole conversation has evolved into a vent of past mistakes and resentments.

The best way to avoid over-alerting is to continue listening, even when you are sad, to practice acknowledging your emotions:

  • When your boss criticizes your recent sales figures, you can make a big acknowledgment that you are angry, even a little hurt, and then remind yourself that this feeling is completely understandable.

  • After your spouse sneers at you, admit that you are afraid and anxious about your decision to make this topic. You can tell yourself that your feelings are normal, but you still decided to look ahead.

If you don’t recognize your emotions, they will eventually control you and control you. Once we are swallowed up by painful emotions and we are sorrowful, we will have a hard time listening.

Write at the end

Training yourself to be a better listener is a radical improvement in interpersonal relationshipsDepartment – the best way to be with your spouse, children, boss and colleagues – you have to do –

Don’t give advice.

Ask an open question.

Keep feedback during the listening process.

Accept the other person’s emotions.

Recognize your emotions.

Translator: Xitang