“We hear with our ears, but we listen with our hearts.” – A Focus on the Family podcast guest
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard what someone said, but I didn’t invest the time, give the respect, or care enough to listen with the intent of understanding what the other person had to say. The result of this is at best a misunderstanding, often hurtful, and sometimes damaging to the relationship.
When it matters most, we often fail to listen so that we can understand the person we’re talking to.
When someone is speaking:
- Give full attention and be present with them. Stop typing – put down the phone, tablet, or book (I’m a little old-school like that) – turn off the TV, and look them in the eyes.
- Hear with your ears AND listen with your heart. Hear and understand what they’re saying so that you can connect with their purpose for the conversation and determine how you should respond.
- Ask clarifying questions. Ask questions that let them know you’re listening and verifies that you’re on the same page with them.
- Actively engage in meaningful conversation. Give the conversation the level of energy that you or the other person feels it deserves (check your heart to ensure you’re giving it enough energy).
- IF you’re in the middle of something and you can’t break away:
- Let the other person know what you’re dealing with.
- Ask them if you can talk later and schedule a time.
- Get back with them on the issue – don’t let it slip away.
- IF you missed the listening boat and either don’t have a clue what they’re talking about or you haven’t been fully-present in the conversation, apologize and ask if you can start again.
“Never ruin an apology with an excuse or justification.” – Ben Franklin
My Girls, listening with your heart is a crucial part of success, and I Hope and Pray that it’s something that you will learn early and practice often as you live out your unique God-given purpose in this life.
Life Application Question
Who in your life do you need to better listen to TODAY?