When I listen to you I respect you. It doesn’t mean that I agree with you or that I believe what you believe. Listening just says, “I value you as a person and you have the right to be heard.” A desire to hear the other person is a highly respectful act of love. Actually, when you really listen to the other person and give ear to what they want to say, it is the most deeply connecting thing that you can do for another.
The scriptures instruct to be quick to listen and slow to speak. How many times can you remember being impatient and not listening to the other person because you could not wait to blurt out what you wanted to say? Proverbs 18:13 says, “he who answers before listening – that is his folly or shame.” Another way to say this is, “the person who answers before listening is a fool.” It’s a shameful thing to speak before really listening to the other person. How many times have we said things in haste and wish we would have listened and had some self control?
Correction comes through really hearing the other person who is correcting you. If a wise person can find a listening ear, then this wise man’s rebuke is like an ornament of gold. Gold is very valuable and has always been a store of money. It never goes down and has always been real money. Even a rebuke is valuable but only if the person who is being rebuked listens and takes it in. It’s the ear that makes it valuable. No listener, no value.
Why is listening important? Listening makes the speaker feel affirmed, valued and understood. If you really listen to me I feel accepted since my feelings, ideas and experiences are being valued too. It is not that you would agree or be on my side, but just be respectful since I can be who I am and still be loved and accepted you.
We need to be understood especially when we feel isolated and need to reconnect with community. This process of simply listening allows me to feel understood. My feelings are important to me and if you will listen to them I feel validated just by you simply listening. Complaining customers need to be listened to so they will feel validated and understood. Don’t interrupt. Just listening with an empathic ear can resolve conflict with customers. They just want to be heard.
Recently I had a need to call a very large cable company who you would recognize and I felt like the customer service representative was rude to me because I questioned her and did not understand. I told her that I felt like she had been rude to me and she quickly defended herself and was even more rude. She could not understand my feelings and was not listening to anything that I said. All she had to do was apologize, listen to me and validate how I felt. Instead she pushed back and I told her that I would call back and get a more understanding representative. So I did.
The other customer service representative listened to my concerns, validated my feelings and understood why I felt the way that I felt. She simply did this by listening patiently.
So, how do we listen?
So what’s the bottom line? Listening is like medicine to the speaker. It heals them.