How to Listen and Be Heard: The Simple Act of Making Someone Feel Understood

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The simple act of listening to someone and making them feel that they have truly been heard is one of the most treasured gifts..

When you speak with someone, there’s no way to ensure that they are really listening to what you have to say and understanding it on the same level that you do. It can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you need their input or help with something, and end up feeling like all of your hard work went down the drain because of their inability to hear you. While it may seem impossible to get through at times, there are actually ways to improve how much others listen and understand what you’re saying, which will only benefit your relationships in the long run.

Make eye contact

  1. Make eye contact with the person you are speaking with. Eye contact is an important way for people to feel heard because it can make them feel seen, respected, and understood. It can also show that you are engaged in what they are saying or feeling.
  2. Give feedback on what the person is saying, either verbally or non-verbally by nodding your head or making a noise like uh-huh when they have finished their sentence. This lets the speaker know you understand what they have said so far and want them to continue telling you more about their thoughts or feelings.

Don’t interrupt

  1. Practice active listening by asking questions, taking notes, paraphrasing back what you hear, and being attentive to any body language cues that may affect the conversation. 2. Make eye contact, nod your head in understanding or agreement, and ask for clarification when needed. 3. Focus on the person speaking and take time before responding so that you don’t interrupt them mid-sentence. 4. Allow them to finish their thoughts before offering advice or trying to solve their problem for them. 5. Ask permission before you share personal information about yourself with others because sometimes people just want someone who will listen without judging them or trying to fix their problems for them. 6. If you’re feeling a little tongue-tied or at a loss for words, try using silence as an opportunity to think about what they are saying. 7. Remember that it’s not your responsibility to know how to fix all of their problems. 8. Avoid giving advice unless they specifically request it because sometimes the best thing we can do is simply be there for them in silence and offer a shoulder if they need it. 9. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to express yourself later on but right now this is all about hearing them out. 10. And if after doing everything I’ve mentioned here they still feel unheard then maybe consider reaching out to someone else who might be able to help out with that part too–a therapist, clergy member, etc..

Don’t offer advice
Listening is about understanding where the other person is coming from. It’s about letting them talk, ask questions, have their say. But most importantly, listening is about being there for them when they need you.

1- When someone comes to you with a problem, it’s important not to give advice too quickly. Take a step back and listen first – really listen – before you start offering solutions or telling them what they should do next.#2- When someone speaks to you, pay attention not just with your ears but also with your eyes and body language.

Reflect back what you’ve heard
When I listen, I don’t just hear what you’re saying. I also try to understand what it is that you’re really trying to say. It’s not about agreeing or disagreeing with you, it’s about hearing your needs so that we can work together for a solution. It’s about understanding where you are coming from so that we can go forward together. Sometimes when people talk, they feel like nobody is listening. In order for this not to happen, the first thing I ask myself is What’s important? Once I know what matters most, then I’m able to listen deeply and see the other person in a new light.

Ask questions

  1. What is the best way to listen?
  2. How can you make someone feel heard? 2. What are ways in which we often do not listen? Why is it important that we do not give up listening even when it becomes difficult or uncomfortable?
  3. Can you think of an example of a time that you felt like someone was truly listening to you, what did it feel like, and what were the consequences for feeling listened to? 4. What are some things that you find helpful in staying engaged with someone when they share their experience with us? 5. Would you be willing to share your experience of being listened to with us so we can better understand how it feels?
Dr. Sajeev Dev
Dr. Sajeev Dev
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