If you ask any single person (male or female) what’s the most important non-physical for the opposite sex, listening would be on the top of their list. In fact, according to a survey by Men’s Health, 53% of women rate “listening” as an important trait for men to have. And the feeling is definitely mutual on the male side, too. For something so important in a relationship, it is easier said than done–listening is not just shutting your mouth and opening your ears. Many people are hard-wired to be problem solvers, determined to find a solution and offer feedback to those with a problem…however, sometimes people have needs that are more important than opinions, solutions, or feedback.
In his new book, Attractive Communication, sought-out Juris Doctor, attorney-mediator and communication coach Michael Rooni attests that non-solution listening is a skill that we must all learn to become a more attractive communicator. It is being there for when someone wants to vent, be heard, and receive empathy. It is also a way for people to gauge trust–they may not want judgment or advice, but just a confidant. It can be the ultimate test of intimacy.
In Attractive Communication, Rooni shares a helpful action plan for no-solution listening:
Reflect Back: What emotions are coming out the strongest? Respectfully reflect back what you understand them to be, such as “I can certainly understand how you could feel hurt”
If you get the sense that the conversation is about evaluating your trustworthiness, make it easy for them. When you would normally respond with advice, instead simply state “I’ll hold what you tell me in confidence”
Sometime the speaker just needs a confidence boost. Remind them that they always come through, and mention a time in the past where they handled a similar situation positively.
When the person talking seems too tired or emotionally drained for a productive dialogue; let them finish talking without interruptions but ask to continue the conversation later. They will end up appreciating your feedback and advice after some rest.
About The Author:
Attorney-mediator and communication coach Michael Rooni mediates high-conflict disputes and trains corporate employees, business owners, couples, and individuals in the fields of communication and dispute resolution. He has participated in, observed, and studied thousands of communications in his search for the most attractive and effective communication and dispute resolution methods. Mr. Rooni is a sought-after, high-impact speaker, practitioner, and consultant in the areas of communicative effectiveness and dispute resolution.