One of the biggest challenges facing couples is the way in which they communicate. Simply put, that’s because men and women communicate differently. It’s not until you learn to bridge the communication gap that you’ll get beyond that barrier and create a stronger bond with your partner.
Essential to bridging the gap in communication is learning to become a better listener. The following five listening tips will help you in this quest:
1) Think about the words that your partner is speaking.
A lot of times it’s easy for a person’s mind to wander when someone else is talking. Many times, instead of listening, a person is thinking about what they are going to say next! It’s essential to get beyond this by actually thinking about the words your partner is saying.
2) Repeat words back in the form of a response.
One of the best training techniques for becoming a better listener is to repeat phrases back. For example, if your partner says, “I had a very rough day at work, the phone was ringing non-stop” then you can respond, “I’m sorry your day was so rough.” Your partner knows you were listening because in your response, you repeated something he/she had said.
3) Eliminate distractions.
Hopefully you own a TIVO for this tip! If your partner starts to talk with you, learn to eliminate any distractions so that you can better listen. For example, if you are watching TV, pause it (thus the TIVO) until your partner is done and you have responded accordingly. You want to provide your undivided attention to your partner so that you can properly think about the words he/she is saying and repeat them back in the form of a response.
4) Look the person in the eyes.
When listening to someone, look them in the eyes. This helps you focus while letting them know you are listening.
5) Ask questions.
A person feels they are important when you ask followup questions based on what they’ve been talking about. For example, if your partner says, “a group of us workers went to that new Italian restaurant for lunch,” then a good followup questions is, “so how was the food there?” Asking followup up questions makes you a better listener (since you have to listen to ask the question) and makes your partner more impressed with you since you have more of an interest in what he/she is saying. (this article Copyright 2007 by Joe Tracy)