To listen is an art to listen well is a gift to the person that you lend your ears. Listening is beyond being present and showing interest, what follows is my take on how to listen and make a difference.
Show interest ,it makes a lot of difference talking to somebody interested in what you have to say.
Don’t just listen , pay attention to the words and the nuances.
Don’t open your ears and close your mind, open both and allow the words find a home in you.
Don’t interrupt , allow the person to talk to his/her hearts content.
Don’t be in a hurry to talk or offer solutions.
Think deeply before you speak, if you must speak.
Most times we just need a listening ear not a “problem solver”.
Never tell a story of how you had a similar problem and how you overcame it. It shifts the focus to you, which is unacceptable.
Don’t be judgemental because of what you hear. We can never know our capacity until we face a similar situation.
Don’t look nonchalant, it could be frustrating and end a conversation before it ever starts.
Be patient and appear wise and reflective even if you don’t have any idea how to help. By listening you are already helping.
Be encouraging, listening is like coaxing lava out of a volcano 🙂
Confidentiality must be absolute. You can’t reference a past discussion to make a point in a new one. (Difficult but doable).
You must try and be reserved, taciturn, quiet or you will find yourself telling people’s secrets without meaning to.
Don’t be flippant or disregard people’s concerns. One mans worry is another man’s peace of mind.
Ultimately listening enriches both individuals and leaves lasting impressions (good or bad).
This list is by no means exhaustive. Be a good listener.