When people are upset, the words they use rarely convey the issues and needs at the heart of the problem.
When we listen for what is felt as well as said, we connect more deeply to our own needs and emotions, and to those of other people.
· Listen to the reasons the other person gives for being upset.
· Make sure you understand what the other person is telling you—from his or her point of view.
· Repeat the other person’s words, and ask if you have understood correctly.
· Ask if anything remains unspoken, giving the person time to think before answering.
· Resist the temptation to interject your own point of view until the other person has said everything he or she wants to say and feels that you have listened to and understood his or her message.
When listening to the other person’s point of view, the following responses are often helpful:
Encourage the other person to share his or her issues as fully as possible.
· “I want to understand what has upset you.”
· “I want to know what you are really hoping for.”
Clarify the real issues, rather than making assumptions. Ask questions that allow you to gain this information, and which let the other person know you are trying to understand.
· “Can you say more about that?”
· “Is that the way it usually happens?”
Restate what you have heard, so you are both able to see what has been understood so far it may be that the other person will then realize that additional information is needed.
· “It sounds like you weren’t expecting that to happen.”
Reflect feelings-be as clear as possible.
· “I can imagine how upsetting that must have been.”
Validate the concerns of the other person, even if a solution is elusive at this time. Expressing appreciation can be a very powerful message if it is conveyed with integrity and respect.
· “I really appreciate that we are talking about this issue.”
· “I am glad we are trying to figure this out.”