The Importance of Listening
Although Resource Persons are not expected to be counsellors, it is important to practice effective and respectful communication.
We are all valuable, capable, and responsible and can make a positive difference in our world. When we listen to someone, really listen, we invest time in that person. We are sending a message that says, “I care and I am extending myself toward you because you matter.”
Taking time to focus completely on the conversation at hand and to eliminate all other interruptions from around you takes practice. Usually one moves closer to the person to whom they are listening. Give eye contact to the speaker without riveting one’s eyes. Indicate your interest by nodding your head or saying, “uh, huh,” every so often. If you think you misunderstand what is being said, then gently seek clarification, for example: “Tell me again that last part, please. Are you saying…?”
When engaging in a listening situation, it is critical that you “be in the moment” with the other person — in the space together. The best advice to the listener is, “be silent, be still. And pay attention.” Refrain from making any judgemental statements. You are a sounding board. You are providing an opportunity for a person to share their feelings with you. This is risky for the speaker and requires courage on their part. Your smile or gentle voice and affirmation may provide the speaker with the safety net they need to share with you. Your actions as a sensitive listener is an honouring of the other person and an affirmation of their worth.