Active Listening

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God gave us 2 ears and one mouth - listen at least 2x as much as talk. Contrary to what we may think, it is the listener who controls the conversation, not the speaker. Example:

Buzz session - In pairs, tell an incident from your life that you feel sad about. The first time you tell it to your partner, he/she should give no verbal feedback, such as yes, “mmm”, “I understand” and non verbal behavior should indicate lack of interest. Look at your watch, out the window, doodle, look at the door. Tell the incident a 2nd time, your partner giving good feedback. Reverse the roles. Discuss how it felt in each case.

Definition: the skill of accurately perceiving (understanding) the feeling and the content of another’s statement and to communicate that understanding back to the person. Good communication happens when what is intended by the speaker is what is understood by the listener!

Good listening requires a set of skills: 1. The ability to concentrate on what the other person is saying 2. A willingness to empathize with the other person (seeing from his viewpoint) 3. Picking up on the feelings behind the words.

How Can we Be Good Listeners? James 1:19 ““quick to listen, slow to speak” - learn to put your problems to one side - reflect back what the person is saying, in your own words - accept the person, even if you don’t agree - Give your full attention. Try not to interrupt

Barriers to good listening 1. Not listening to everything the other person is saying because we are too busy working out what we are going to say next. 2. Only hearing what we want to hear. We avoid listening to negative, unpleasant or critical statements. 3. Pre-judging what they are saying before they have finished speaking. It is better to make judgments after you have heard all the information. 4. Wanting to be nice and people to like you but you really don’t want to get involved, so you placate them by saying things like: “Oh, that’s terrible,” “I know,” or “Oh, yes.” 5. Responding to whatever is being said with a joke or a quip. You are not interested in listening seriously because what they are saying makes you uncomfortable in some way.

How to Improve our listening skills 1. Maintain good eye contact - look at their eyebrows or nose if not their eyes 2. Lean towards the speaker slightly - to show you are interested in them. 3. Try to stay relaxed. Uncross your arms and legs, having an open posture makes you look less defensive. 4. Keep an open mind - even if you disagree with what’s being said. 5. don’t interrupt unless it is to clarify a point by asking questions. 6. Say things like “yes,” “mmm” “I understand” and nod occasionally. 7. Move away from distractions 8. Be patient. Allow plenty of time. 9. Show the talker that you want to listen. Look and act interested. 10. Empathize with the talker. Try to put yourself in their shoes, see things from their point of view. 11. Smile, everyone understands a smile means you are friendly and open. 12. Use the other person’s name early on in the conversation. 13. Be non-judgmental towards the other person. 14. Admit it when you don’t know the answer or have made a mistake.

The Bible teaches active listening Proverbs 18:13 “He who answers before listening - that is his folly and shame. Jesus took time to listen to the woman at the well, even through he was tired. When Lazarus died, and his sister Mary was weeping, Jesus wept with her. (John 11:33) Giving of ourselves is what real communication is about.

SMALL GROUPS 1. What frustrations have our or others had with communications within YWAM? groups of 3 or 4

2. How can we improve better communications in YWAM? - discuss in 3s Between team members? Between leaders and ministries? Between team members and leaders? Within the country? Outside?

SUMMARY Good communication is essential for any effective team, and the most important ingredient in any relationship. We can grow in learning to communicate better. We can all learn to be better listeners, and to care for one another with empathy. Let’s do that now. Some of us may have had situations where we have been frustrated with lack of communication, haven’t been heard, of if we were, we were not understood. PRAYER TIME FOR ONE ANOTHER especially for those who have been MISUNDERSTOOD, NOT TAKEN SERIOUSLY, NOT LISTENED TO.