God gave us one mouth and two ears so we would listen more than speaking – but really, we should listen with our whole bodies.
You know you can tell when someone is listening (or not listening) to you – so why do we convince ourselves that others cannot tell when our mind is wandering? To actively listen, we use more than just our ears!
Our brain – Evaluate words – it helps you focus. Are you listening and repeating in your mind what you understand the person to be saying or are you planning a response or an exit to the conversation?
Our eyes – Look at their expression, their posture, their body language. When you listen to someone and their eyes are looking anywhere but at you. It’s a sad and disrespected feeling. Let’s not let anyone else feel that way. Live out what you long for– if you’ve ever had someone brighten when you walked in a room, you know the warm feeling to have that soul greeting “Bright eyes gladden the heart” – Proverbs 15:30.
Let my body actions tell them I am listening – I hear you. Face the person talking, put down your cellphone, or the book you were reading, or turn off the television. They will feel valued and you will also teach by example how to honor others.
I can show I am listening with my words – clarify what I think I heard and give the other person the opportunity to clarify what they meant. Tell them I will try to repeat what they said to make sure you are understanding, then restate their response in my own words as briefly as possible.
Proverbs 10:19 –When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise
Facial expression can convey your sincerity. I might raise my eyebrows and ask is that what you meant – giving the person the opportunity to qualify with a yes or no so we can continue the conversation.
Actions can value differences while calmly using word pictures to explain feelings. One example is a wife who feels unvalued when husband misses their dinners frequently with business meetings and tells her about the nice dinners and might even bring her leftovers. When she explained to him it felt like his business associates were steak to him and she was leftover pizza he got the picture.
The same conversation will sound and feel differently from each personality type perspective. Do your relationships a favor and study their personality type (and yours) so you both can better relate to each other, and understand what their bodies actions are really saying.
The Wired That Way personality test can be found at that site.
4 Animals Personality Test