Updated: Jul 23
Only 80% of listening comes from 'words'. The rest comes from body language, empathy, connectivity. If you are looking at the tv or your phone you cannot really look to listen so you are only hearing 20% of what the person needs to share. Can you see in their eyes what they are feeling? Can you see the tensions and fidgeting as they talk? These signs give you so much more information than the words they are saying.
We also need to listen to ourselves.
Can you 'feel' in your body your own physical reaction as they share? Are you feeling sad, or do you have your own discomforts with what they are sharing? Do you 'hear' your own judgements? It is important to recognise this. It does not mean you shouldn't have these reactions but be aware that you can potentially be sending a message to the person about how you feel about what they are sharing with you, leaving them to feel judged or unheard.
Notice your reaction but put it to one side so you can truly allow the other person to share fully.
Notice if you are panicking about what you hear but don't show them the extent of this as this just adds to their already distress. If you cry with them it does show empathy but at this point you also need to show them you can manage their distress too while they cry.