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CHAPLAIN RESOURCE INDEX - — BASIC LISTENING SKILLS

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CHAPLAIN RESOURCE INDEX
— WELCOME CHAPLAIN
— THE ROLE OF CHAPLAIN
— THE MINISTRY OF CHAPLAINCY
— GRIEF: CARING FOR THOSE THAT HURT
— MINISTERING TO THE SICK
— PRAYING WITH A PATIENT
— BASIC LISTENING SKILLS
— WHEN GOD SHOWS UP
— COMMON SENSE EVANGELISM
— CONVERSION BY CONCUSSION
— STANDARDS FOR BIKER CHAPLAINS
— UNITY
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BASIC LISTENING SKILLS
An excerpt from “Making Hospital Visits” by Jim Hughes


Becoming a good listener is a life-long quest. It requires effort, focus, and mastery of skills. All of us can become better listeners if we work at it. Listening in a way so that we really comprehend what the other person is trying to communicate and so that they feel heard is challenging. There are lots of reasons for that:


1. The words actually spoken reveal only a small part of the message.


2. The tone in which they are spoken and the body language with which they are spoken including the facial expressions actually convey most of the message.


3. All of us tend to only communicate partial messages in conversation. Getting the rest of the message requires questioning, clarification, and other conversational interchanges.


4. Actual communication is taking place on multiple levels. If we’re just tuned into the surface level, we miss the most important part of what’s being said.

Here are five basic listening skills that will carry you a long way:


1. Rapport Building is establishing an emotional connection of trust at the outset of a conversation. Smiling, maintaining eye contact, and synchronizing your body language and pace of your speech to the other person help enhance rapport.


2. Paraphrase is saying back to the speaker in your own words what you heard the speaker say. Paraphrase helps you be sure that what you heard is what the speaker meant to say, and it conveys to the speaker that you’re really interested. It’s the “What I heard you say was…” tool.


3. Asking productive questions invites the person to provide information they would like to share, helps fill in missing information, and check out possible distortions. Curiosity is your biggest asset here. It’s also one of the primary ways we show the person that we’re interested in them.


4. Behavior description (body movement, physical changes, or tone of voice, as well as actual verbal quotes) helps you distinguish between what you are inferring and what the person is saying. For example, if someone says “I’m fine,” but they’re tearing up as they say it, saying “I heard you say that you’re fine, but your tears suggest that there may be more going on,” provides an opportunity to go deeper by giving them permission to speak freely.


5. Perception check is a way of testing your perception (guess) about what you believe the speaker is feeling. Making a perception check lets the speaker know that you are sensitive to their inner emotional condition. Since you’re just guessing, always phrase your statement tentatively. “I’m guessing that based on what you’ve told me that you’re feeling pretty discouraged. Is that close?”


 



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