The other day I was reading the obituaries in the newspaper. An elderly woman had died and her grandchildren were writing an essay to tell what they missed about her. I was interested in the fact that they especially missed her listening skills. Too often, the gift of a really good listener is underestimated.
How many of us ever get listened to by someone who has no agenda but simply wants to know what it’s like to be living in our skin: someone who isn’t just waiting for her turn to speak?
Would you like to be good listener, that rare being who knows how to listen in a way that allows the other person to figure out her life issues by herself? That happens if we honestly listen.
Here are the rules for empathic listening:
- Don’t try to “fix” the other person
- Don’t give advice
- Don’t ask questions
- Don’t tell your own similar story – or something you’re reminded of.
Strange as it may seem, when we truly listen to the other person, he or she finds her own uniquely right answers.