1. Offer Your Undivided Attention
Show that you are fully there, fully attentive to the message you are receiving. Maintain positive eye contact. Show the speaker that you are hearing the message being sent. Show that you are not only available but also actively engaged in receiving the message. No multi-tasking! Be fully present. Resist the urge to make comments or to judge anything being said. Just listen. Don’t interrupt. You’ll get to talk later.
2. Paraphrase It Back
Repeat back what you heard with a minimum of interpretation. Show that you understand what is being said. You don’t need to “parrot” what they say word for word as this tends to sound awkward or annoying, just make sure you really have the basic content of the message and its meaning. Clarify anything about the message to ensure understanding. For example: “So what I’m hearing is...” (paraphrase without interpreting) or “Let me make sure that I am understanding you correctly...” Let them correct any misunderstanding or interpretation. Paraphrasing allows us to make sure that we are actually hearing correctly (which we often don’t) and understand what they mean by what they are saying (which we often don’t).
3. Recognize the positive intention of the speaker
Listen for the underlying, positive intent. The speaker is communicating that there is something he/she really cares about. What is it that they really want and why is that important to them? Listen for that concern, the underlying needs or values of the speaker. Acknowledging what really matters to him/her encourages the speaker to move toward a positive, purposeful resolution.
For example, what could be the underlying positive intention of someone criticizing the way you dress? My guess would be that they really want to feel more attracted to you and therefore want you to dress in a way that has them visually more drawn to you. Why would they want that? Well, probably because they want to sustain the connection and attraction in the relationship. Can you acknowledge and align on the positive intention, even if you don’t like the criticism or how they are expressing it?
“I appreciate that you want to continue to feel attracted to me and that there are things that I can do to help that.”
Once we get the person’s underlying positive intent and align with it we can negotiate possibilities and strategies that work for both of us. Often times we confuse strategy with intent. It’s important to separate those two in order to “get” the intent. Then collaborate on strategy. If you really don’t want to change your clothing then you can also come up with other strategies for generating the outcome of sustaining the connection and attraction in the relationship.
If the underlying positive intention isn’t obvious to you, just ask! “What would my dressing differently do for you? What about that is important to you?”
Keep asking until you get to something that is “supportable” even if it isn’t “your thing.”
Then open up a conversation for possibilities for how you can work together to accomplish that.
This one shift in the way you listen could create the difference you’ve been looking for in the quality of your relationship conversation!
If this was helpful be sure to catch my free webinar on the 8 Transformational Keys to Sizzling Relationships by going to www.lifetimeloveaffair.com now and opting in!