Listen – Tip #41
Let your family know that you really hear what they are saying. How many times do you ‘listen’ by thinking about what you are going to say next or while doing something else? Listening is a learned skill, it needs to be practiced regularly and people know when you have it and when you don’t. In a military household there can be a lot going on and it will be important for you to listen to what your family is saying and notice the things that they aren’t saying too!
* Anytime you are listening pretend that someone is going to ask you to summarize what they just told you
* Make time to listen, clear away distractions and give them 100% of your attention (let the phone ring, get off the computer, turn off the TV, etc.)
* Try to keep the ratio of 75% listening and 25% talking
* Try not to rush someone who is talking by guessing what it is that you think they are trying to tell you or interupting them with your thoughts and ideas on the topic
* Be aware of your body language – you may say that you are interested and your entire body may show the person trying to talk to that you are too busy, too tired, uninterested, etc.
* If you aren’t sure you understand what they are trying to say ask them to explain further rather than assuming you understand
* If you are having to deal with communicating during an absence – ask ahead of time how much time you have and make sure you spend at least half of it listening to what they have to say