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Demonstrate listening

Good Group Tips

In principle, peace comes through shared understanding, and shared understanding comes through listening. If you hear things incorrectly, or not at all, you’re likely to proceed on false assumptions, which are likely to give way later and cause conflict. The best way to ensure good listening is to demonstrate it.

Practical Tip: Are you listening? Prove it. After you have heard someone say something, demonstrate to them that you heard them and understood what they said. Saying “I understand” is not a demonstration.

As you listen, show that you are paying attention with silent expressions and perhaps an encouraging word or two.

After listening, reflect back what you heard. Ideally, repeat the main points, using a mix of their words and some of your own, and try to name their feelings. Like, “My, that must have made you feel angry.” Let them judge if you got it right. And if you missed, no problem: try different words and talk it through until you “get it,” and they agree that you get it.

The ultimate demonstration: act in ways that prove that you listened and understood.

– Craig Freshley

Click here for one-page PDF of this Tip, a great way to print or share.

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