Listening Skills Advice
What were your scores and what were your partners from the Listening Skills Evaluation?
TOTAL FOR YOURSELF _____
TOTAL FOR YOUR PARTNER _____
Communication is the lifeblood of all relationships . But it’s not just about talking, it’s about listening too. You must listen to each other and if you don’t, you just aren’t communicating. Loving communication must have understanding, honesty, kindness, and respect.
We suggest that if you or your partner have scored less than 7, there’s room for improvement in your listening skills. If your scores are higher than 7, you may be have the communication that you need to work through the difficulties of life and to enjoy the good times together. If you’re scores were under 5, you are probably searching for improvement in your communication and your relationship.
If your personal score is significantly different than your score for your partner, one of you might not be listening or your perception may not be consistent. Also be aware that your partner may rate you differently than you rated yourself. This is not uncommon and is a result of our natural tendency to see things through our own eyes. Use the opportunity to listen to each other and try to understand. Listening and understanding are the key.
Practice some of the following listening skills to improve your communication.
Paraphrasing – Is a good way to show your partner that you’ve really listened to him/her. It will often lead to a better understanding while he/she will see that you value what they are saying. When there is a natural pause in the conversation, restate briefly what you heard your partner say by rephrasing in your own words. Then ask if this is correct.
Clarification – Ask questions and clarification on anything your partner said that you don’t quite understand. Asking your partner to explain his/her feelings helps draw them out to be more open. Make sure you understand your partner before you react to what has been said. Remember you both have filters so ask for clarification.
Effective Feedback – Feedback consists of telling your partner what your reaction is to what has been said. You should tell him/her that this feedback is based on what your understanding is. There are three rules to giving good feedback. Talk about your feelings.
It must be immediate
It must be honest
It must be supportive and not attacking or mean.
Be aware of Body Language – Up to 90% of your communications can be visual. You’re receiving not only words but, most importantly for relationships, you’re receiving body language and tone. Most often body language prevails over words. Learn to listen with empathy, openness and awareness. Nod your head occasionally as you listen to your partner and maintain eye contact to show interest in what they are saying. If you sense a discrepancy between what is being said and what you see, ask for clarification.
Check out our article on How to become a better Listener
This “Listening Skills Rating” is taken from the book “Talk to Me: How to Create Positive, Loving Communication.” You will find many helpful tips on how to enhance your listening skills in the book as well as other ways to enhance create the loving communication that you want. We now offer it as an E-Book on Amazon Kindle! Get it today!
NOTE: These non-scientific evaluations and this advice are not meant to be substitutes for counseling, or good communication skills training such as that offered through the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program PREP courses and other programs that may be found through our Links For Lovers resource page. There are many excellent relationship skills programs. Check out the Communication Assessment Questionnaire.