Listening Is An Essential Skill

Listening is an absolutely essential life skill. It’s even more important as a skill for someone who is part of a successful women’s group.

Listening is a way of building rapport. When you listen to someone, you learn more about them. You understand what’s going on in their life, how they think, where they’re coming from, what experiences they are drawing on and more. In turn, the person you are listening to feels that you understand them better; they are thankful for the support and the empathy you are providing them, just by being a good listener.

As you can see, listening strengthens the bond between the talker and the listener. To really build a strong connection with someone, you need to listen to them. When you listen to them, a part of their life is instilled within you.

Obviously, listening is very important for all kinds of relationships, whether it’s a professional, family, friendship or other kind of relationship. But listening skills are so much more important when you are a member of a women’s group. Proper listening skills will help you build strong connections with the other members and will help you get the most out of your group experience.

Good listening skills are more than just sitting listlessly while somebody else talks. In a group, there’s a big difference between healthy listening (participating) and sitting quietly but not participating.

The first step to being a good listener is to really want to listen. Don’t just hope she’ll stop talking soon – try to actually understand her! Really understand what she’s saying, try to put yourself in her shoes and empathize with what she is talking about. The instant you do this, you will find that you are a much better listener, and this will inevitably bring you closer to the talker.

When you are a good listener, you want to show off the fact that you’re listening. This means nodding as someone else talks, looking them in the eye and making the right verbal cues, like saying “uh-huh”, “exactly” and “mm-hmm”. We as women do this pretty much automatically.

Also important is to show the right reactions when someone is talking. If they say something funny, laugh. If they say something surprising, raise your eyebrows and look surprised. Again, we women do this pretty naturally, but it’s important to keep in mind that listening is the response to talking – so you shouldn’t hesitate to show your response.

Of course, if your reaction differs from the naturally expected one, don’t feel obliged to just go along with what’s being said. Make sure, however, the talker has truly finished telling her story before you offer an opinion. Let’s say someone is telling you their woeful mother-in-law tale. Don’t hesitate to tactfully sympathize with the in-law – you might be able to actually help the talker with her relationship by expressing the in-law’s perspective. Differing in your opinion is also a part of listening – its shows that you’ve paid attention and have an opinion based on what’s been said.

Being a good listener means never interrupting someone, or being over eager to express your views. Most of the time, we just need someone to be our “still spirit” to express our stories to – and when you participate in a women’s group, you will have plenty of opportunities to be both the listener and the talker.

Karen & Pat
maximize the value of the women in your life


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