Our willingness to listen and receive input from others sends a powerful message: I care what you think; you have something valuable to contribute. When we ask questions and listen with focused attention and a humble spirit, we invite trust and cooperation in business and personal relationships.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
Consider these suggestions for gracious listening:
- Face the person who is speaking to you and maintain eye contact. Don’t look out the window or scan the room. Put aside papers, cell phone, and other distractions.
- Listen without judging or mentally criticizing the speaker. And do not jump to conclusions. Let the speaker finish, and ask for clarification about things you question before you respond.
- When listening to someone talk about a problem, do not interrupt with advice or solutions. Many times, people need a sounding board, not an answer. Wait a while, then get the speaker’s permission to share your idea or solution.
- Show empathy through your facial expressions. This demonstrates genuine concern for what the speaker is saying.
- Greet someone in the hall by saying, “How are you?” Stop and sincerely listen to the response.
- Ask meaningful questions about things that are important to others and actively listen to what they say.
- Listen for the aspirations and fears of others. Pray that God will show you appropriate ways to encourage them.
- Actively seek to understand rather than win an argument. You could easily win the fight but lose the war.
- Focus on understanding the speaker, not on calculating your rebuttal.
- Create safe space for people to disagree with you by listening to criticism without blowing up.
This is the third article of a four-part series on communicating grace in the workplace:
- Part 1: Communicating Grace in an Ungracious World
- Part 2: Communicating Grace in Our Words
- Part 4: Communicating Grace in Our Actions