Think a minute…A guy was complaining to his friend about his wife’s nagging. He said: “All my wife does is talk, talk, talk, talk.” His friend asked: “Well, what does she talk about?” He answered: “I don’t know, she doesn’t say!”
You would think that with two ears and one mouth, we would all be twice as good listeners as talkers! But sadly that is not the case. Research shows that we usually listen to only 20% of what others say to us. Yet good listening is one of the easiest, most important ways to be successful—whether it is in our marriage, with our children, in our job and career, or with our friends.
Even though we cannot physically close our ears, we somehow do not hear what people say to us. We only listen to what we want to hear. But when we don’t really listen to others, we hurt both ourselves and them! Here are three important things we need to do when listening to others.
The first is observation. Use your eyes and look at them. It is simply common courtesy and respect. Take your eyes off whatever else you were interested in at the time (i.e. your smart phone and mobile device, TV, newspaper, other people, etc.) and give your full attention to the person talking to you.
The second part of listening is concentration. Many of us are guilty of looking someone in the eye, pretending we are listening, when our mind is actually miles away. So we just politely act like we are listening to that person. Also, when someone is talking to us we should not interrupt them, or only think about what we want to say. Hear them out. Listen to everything they have to say before you respond.
The third and probably most important part of listening is consideration. This means using your heart. Sincerely care about what that person is feeling and experiencing. Don’t just hear the person’s words, but try to understand their feelings. People usually know if we are genuinely interested and care about what they are saying. This means we are even willing to change something about ourselves if it is hurting them.
Jesus said that if we really listen and understand what He has told us, then we will actually change and start doing it. Won’t you listen to your wise and loving Maker today? He will help you care enough to give an ear to others. Then, not only will they be happier, but you yourself will enjoy the close, meaningful relationships that only come from being a truly good and caring listener. Just think a minute…