In today’s world of multitasking, smartphones, and constant entertainment, listening is becoming something of a lost art. But it’s so incredibly important for deep, meaningful and fulfilling relationships.
Take these tips and corresponding Bible verses as food for thought and as an opportunity to reflect on how well you’ve been listening to those in your life lately.
4 Tips for Being a Good Listener
1) Give your full attention
- –Leave your phone alone when you are having a conversation if possible—this communicates to the person that what they have to say is important to you.
- –Teach your kids not to interrupt your conversations, and how to politely wait to ask you a question (in theory)… unless your child is the one you are having the conversation with—then give them your full attention, just as you would a friend.
- –Meet in an environment that is as least distracting as possible—preferably where you can hear each other easily.
2) Focus on listening instead of talking.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” — James 1:19
- -It is hard to be listening if you are instead spending the majority of the time talking. This may require some sacrifice on your part—not sharing everything that you have to say, in order to serve and love the other person through listening.
3) Be proactive to ask thoughtful questions.
- -Be willing to “host” the conversation in a sense, focusing on the other person and how they really are and feel. Look for ways to understand them better (through asking intentional questions), in order to be a blessing.
- -For example, you could ask more details about what they were sharing, how it made them feel, what they wish they would have done differently, if something had been difficult for them, etc.
4) Allow your listening to inform your talking.
“To answer before listening—that is folly and shame”. — Proverbs 18:13
- –We are all capable of giving bad advice—especially if we haven’t listened first, to really understand the situation.
- -Being an active listener and asking good questions allows us to then encourage people in specific ways, building people up according to their needs.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” –Ephesians 4:29
Are you a naturally good listener or do you have to work at it? In which of these four areas would you most like to grow?