Three Secrets for Improving Your Relationships
I remember asking my teenage daughter if she thought I was a good listener. I was sure I would get rave reviews. Instead, I received some painful but honest truth about my listening skills. Ouch! That hurt but it sent me on a quest to change.
Did you know that listening has the potential to improve any relationship? Here are three ways to become a fabulous listener.
- Silence Your Inner Fixer. I recently asked my friends on facebook about the unsolicited advice they had received. Oh my word, the posts were hilarious! While the stories were humorous, they were also sobering when you realize how quickly others step in as the “fixer” of people’s problems. Here’s the thing. People want someone to listen to their problems not fix their problems. Next time someone shares a problem, shift your focus from fixing to empathizing.
- Avoid Diving In With Your Own Story. It’s so easy. Your friend has just returned from a vacation to Costa Rica and begins to share her stories. Shockingly, you’ve also just returned from a vacation yourself. Instead of listening to your friend, you dive in with your stories and experiences. People want to be the star of their own show. Let your friends and co-workers have the limelight when they’re telling their stories. Save yours for another time and you’ll be seen as a much better friend.
- Offer the Gift of Your Full Presence. We’re a distracted society. Our phones continually ding with Facebook messages, text messages, email, Twitter and Instagram. As a result, we’re losing the ability to simply focus on what another person is saying. Try turning your phone completely off for 30minutes per day to simply listen to a family member, co-worker or friend.
Becky Harling (www.beckyharling.com) is a certified speaker, leadership coach and trainer with The John Maxwell Team. She is also the founder of Moms Unleashed and the author of The 30 Day Praise Challenge. Becky’s husband Steve is the CEO of Reach Beyond, a non-profit seeking to equip and empower the body of Christ to be the voice and hands of Jesus globally.
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