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  • Writer's pictureJohn Hernandez

The Art of Listening with "Ears to Hear"

In a world filled with constant noise and distractions, the art of listening has become a rare and valuable skill. It's not just about hearing the words someone is saying; it's about truly understanding and empathizing with their message. To master this art, we must learn to listen with "ears to hear."

Listening with "ears to hear" means going beyond the surface of spoken words. It requires us to engage not only our ears but also our hearts and minds. Here are some essential principles to help you become a more empathetic and effective listener:

1.) Be Present: To listen with "ears to hear," you must be fully present in the moment. Put away your phone, close your laptop, and remove any distractions that might divert your attention. Give the speaker your undivided focus.

2.) Empathize: Try to put yourself in the speaker's shoes. Understand their perspective and emotions. Empathy allows you to connect on a deeper level and shows that you care about their feelings and experiences.

3.) Maintain Eye Contact: When you maintain eye contact with the speaker, you convey your interest and sincerity. It also helps you pick up on non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language, which can provide valuable insights into their emotions.

4.) Avoid Interrupting: One of the most common mistakes in listening is interrupting the speaker before they finish. Allow them to express themselves fully before offering your input. It is especially important to ask if they are open to hearing your input. Interrupting can make the speaker feel unheard and disrespected.

5.) Ask Open-Ended Questions: Encourage the speaker to elaborate on their thoughts and feelings by asking open-ended questions. These questions can lead to more meaningful conversations and demonstrate your genuine interest in their perspective.

6.) Practice Active Listening: Active listening involves reflecting on what the speaker is saying and asking clarifying questions to ensure you understand correctly. Summarize their points to show that you are engaged and paying attention.

7.) Be Non-Judgmental: Keep an open mind and reserve judgment. Everyone has their own experiences and opinions, and listening without judgment fosters a safe environment for open communication.

8.) Silence Your Inner Monologue: While listening, it's common for our minds to wander and formulate responses. Try to silence your inner monologue and focus solely on what the speaker is saying. This allows you to absorb their message fully.

9.) Show Appreciation: Express gratitude for the speaker's willingness to share their thoughts and feelings with you. A simple "thank you for sharing" can go a long way in building trust and rapport.

10.) Follow Up: After the conversation, follow up with the speaker to show that you value their input and care about their well-being. This can be as simple as sending a thoughtful message or offering feedback and support if wanted.

Listening with "ears to hear" (an age old concept) is a transformative skill that can improve your relationships, deepen your understanding of others, and enhance your personal growth. By making a conscious effort to become a better listener, you not only enrich your own life but also create a more empathetic and compassionate world for those around you.

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