We all know the effect that a parent who listened to us (or didn’t) has had in shaping our lives. And we also know that the effect that a boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband who really listens (or doesn’t) has on our relationships. But listening can serve us in every interaction we have.
Listening has two vital and powerful effects: First it validates the person you’re listening to. Validation and understanding or two basic human wants or needs. We are all walking human mirrors, reflecting everyone we meet. We either reflect back a bright, sparkling image of the other person or a dull, washed out image. When you listen, you become a highly reflective surface, giving the listen-ee a feeling of being important.
Second, listening takes the spotlight off of the listener. It’s no longer your “job” to be interesting, smart, funny or whatever it is that you expect of yourself. You become somewhat like a TV interviewer. You turn the spotlight onto the other person and usually, the other person basks in that glow and all you have to do is listen, nod and ask a question or two to keep the wheels greased.