After you evaluate the message, you‘re likely to respond in some way. In some cases the speaker expects a response. Here are just a few suggestions for improving your responding to another‘s messages.
- Own your responses. Take responsibility for what you say. Instead of saying,
―Nobody will want to do that‖ say something like ―I don‘t want to do that.‖
- Focus on the other person. Avoid multitasking when you‘re listening. Show the speaker that he or she is your primary focus. You can‘t be a supportive listener, if you‘re also listening to a CD, so take off the headphones; shut down the iPhone and the television; turn away from the computer screen. And, instead of looking around the room, look at the speaker; the speaker‘s eyes should be your main focus.
- Avoid being a thought-completing listener who listens a little and then finishes the speaker‘s thought. This is especially inappropriate when listening to someone who might stammer or have word-finding difficulties. Instead, express respect (and a real willingness to listen) giving the speaker time to complete his or her thoughts. Completing
someone‘s thoughts often communicates the message that nothing important is going to be said (―I already know it‖).