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KEYS TO EFFECTIVE LISTENING
Now that we’ve explored what doesn’t work………….
Let’s talk about what does!

LISTENING IS A TWO WAY STREET


1. ACTIVE LISTENING:

Listening is a collaborative process, involving the following 3 steps:

  1. Paraphrasing:
    When your date is saying something meaningful, restate in your own words what you believe you just heard. For example: “In other words…..”; “are you saying……”; “do you mean…..”. Making an effort to understand what is being said by paraphrasing will lead to:
    • A sense of appreciation for being heard
    • Clearer communication by avoiding false assumptions and misinterpretations
    • Remembering what was said
    • A cooling of reactions and emotions
    • Prevention against many of the listening blocks, such as: judging, rehearsing, advising, etc.


  2. Clarifying:
    Clarifying takes paraphrasing to the next level. By asking questions you get a clearer picture of what your date is saying and at the same time, you let them know that you are truly interested in getting to know them.

  3. Feedback:
    Now it’s your turn. Assuming that you have clarified and feel that you understand what was said, now is the time to share your reactions in a non-judgmental manner. Feedback allows you to confirm your perceptions and offers your date another viewpoint ---- yours. When giving feedback it is important to be:
    • Immediate
    • Honest
    • Supportive


2. LISTENING WITH OPENNESS AND EMPATHY:

Listening with openness and empathy entails putting aside judgment, and a need to be right, which is not always easy, especially when what is being said feels like an attack or is contrary to your way of thinking. The flip side could surely compromise your listening skills thereby causing you to loose out on important information. A key ingredient to listening with openness is allowing your date to finish their thought before responding or reacting.


3. LISTENING WITH AWARENESS:

Listening with awareness is crucial to learning whether you and your date share similar values. Furthermore, it is useful to observe whether your date’s outer affect (expression, tone, voice, body language, etc.) matches what is being said. When there is a discrepancy between the two, be sure to clarify what you think you heard. If there continues to be a stark disparity between expression and content of words, one might consider this to be a red flag.


TOTAL LISTENING:

If you want your date to know if you are really listening:

  • Maintain good eye contact
  • Lean slightly forward
  • Reinforce the speaker by nodding and/or paraphrasing
  • Clarify by asking questions
  • Stay focused
  • Remain committed to what is being said, even if you disagree

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