The Art of Listening Well


All of us could use some help in being a better listener. I believe many of the issues and tension we have today can be attributed to the fact we don't listen well. I strive daily to work on the art of listening—being married for a couple of decades, I am very aware of my deficiencies in this skill.

I spent about twenty years as a pastor and counselor—during that time I learned three questions which helped me listen to people I was trying to help navigate through life—with all its ups and downs. Some time ago, my friend Brian Mavis helped me clarify the language on these three questions, and I want to share them with you. 

I know there are more tools out there to help you listen to people, but these three questions can be a great place to start.

Three Questions on Listening.

1. How do you feel? (Explore it a bit… They need to name it and we need to reiterate it to them… Don’t tell them they shouldn’t feel that way...)

2. What do you need? (This helps people see a solution to their situation… Have them explore it—they need to do it themselves…)

3. How can this need be met? (We are not helping them answer this… They need to come up with the solution… It helps them come up with a path out of their pain…)

Are you a good listener? What methods or ways you recommend to be a better listener?

 I'd like to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comment section of this blog post.