sheep communication

Communication is Essential!

Communication with others is essential. We use communication everyday to get our needs met, inform others, give/receive information. But in our relationships are we communicating effectively? Are we speaking only to be heard and not truly hearing the other person’s view? Becoming an effective listener is one way to improve in our communication skills. When people are heard they feel validated. People are also more likely to truly listen to what you have to say if they feel they have been truly heard. Here are some basic ways to become a more effective listener. 

  • Reflect back to the other person what you just heard them say. This is not repeating back word for word what was said by the other person. It is just a basic reflection of their main point and any feelings or behaviors associated with the main point. This helps the other person to know that you heard what they said and gives them a chance to clarify that you understood what they were saying. 
  • Be present; choose to be focused on the speaker and their message, show interest by listening without interrupting.
  • Listen with your whole body; give non verbal and verbal signs that you are listening, such as nodding in acknowledgement; making good eye contact, and giving feedback when asked. 
  • Control distractions; distractions affect our ability to listen well because of their variety, novelty, or intensity. Try and limit the distractions. 
  • Control your “hot buttons.” Words, issues, situations, and personalities can be emotional triggers for us. When these issues trigger our “hot buttons,” we tend to distort positively or negatively the message we are hearing. We may tune out or pre-judge the message and/or the speaker. We may become defensive or angry and not hear what the other person is truly saying. 

Making a conscious effort to practice one of these skills each week can help us improve in the way we listen to and hear others.

Ashley Ellen MS
Ashley Ellen, MS

I am a counselor at Lighthouse Counseling at the beautiful downtown Waconia location. I enjoy working with children ages 6 and up, teens, college students, adults, couples, families and seniors. I focus on using a variety of strategies, based upon what may work best with each individual personality and situation. If you are interested in establishing a supportive, trusting and open relationship, then we may be a good fit and I would love to hear from you.

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