Give the Gift of Communication Skills through Good Listening
The importance of Communication skills. Sometimes the most lasting and impactful gifts have no monetary value. Research shows that couples who engage in effective communication have closer and more satisfying relationships, so make this the month you give your loved ones and friends the gift of good communication.
When we think of communication, we often think of how we speak. The other side of communication, and perhaps the more important side, is how we listen. Give the gift of good communication skills by being a good listener.
Use your EARS. **Engage, **Acknowledge, ** Repeat, **Support.
It’s pretty obvious that in order to listen, your partner needs to talk. Engaging your partner may be as simple as asking how her or his day was. If they are particularly quiet one evening, gently ask them what’s on there mind. Or ask for advice on a problem you are dealing with. Show that you are interested in your partner’s thoughts and opinions.
Once you have your partner talking, it is important to acknowledge him or her as a speaker. Have you ever been annoyed because someone starts texting while you talk to them? We are surrounded by distractions, but good listeners acknowledge the speaker by providing their undivided attention. Maintaining eye contact, nodding appreciatively and responding with appropriate facial expressions are all signs of acknowledging the speaker.
Sometimes in spite of our best intentions the message we hear is different to the message intended by the speaker. Listening and understanding are not the same thing.
Repeating what the speaker said, but in your own words gives the speaker the opportunity to clarify or correct a misunderstanding. The purpose here is not to express your own opinion or react to what you have heard, but to ensure you clearly understand the point your significant other is making.
The last element of being a good listener involves support. This encompasses accepting your partner’s right to be heard and right to an opinion. Support means treating your partner with respect even when you disagree with an opinion.
This month, make a commitment to use your EARS to become a good listener and give a gift that outlasts any material possession or service.