Being a Good Listener

Earlier this semester I read a book called “Tell the Truth” by Will Metzger. This was one of the charts, on how to be a good listener (p. 212-13).

Listening is hard work. It is active, not passive. Listening is not something to try to fake; it must come from within. It is the way to give quality attention to others and the way to love them. Evaluate one or two conversations you have had recently in light of the following ideas about listening.

Poor Listener
Assumes the subject is uninteresting
Focuses on the person’s manner of expression
Becomes overstimulated; makes snap judgments
Listens only for the facts
Tries to outline the information
Fakes attention to the person
Is distracted by surroundings
Evades grappling with difficult information
Satisfied with only hearing what is first said
Lets emotionas block information flow
Thinks about own response to what is being said
Good Listener
Finds something interesting in it, asks questions
Finds the message more important than grammar
Listens rationally; evaluates but suspends judgment
Listens for the feelings too
Notes patterns, traits, principles and basic ideas
Shows disciplined attention through brief comments
Concentrates by focusing eyes and mind
Welcomes expression of difficult ideas or problems
Probes for the idea behind surface words
Maintains emotional control and is unshockable
Thinks about what is said, gives good advice

Pretty challenging, huh? It definitely takes more work to be a good listener than a poor listener. Metzger challenges the reader to evaluate one or more conversations they had in the past week and see if they were being good listeners or poor listeners. I think you and I should be doing the same more often!

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