Someone facing a difficult experience needs an outlet to voice their concerns and fears. It is through conversations, sharing our stories over and over again, that we finally make sense of what is happening in our lives. One of the greatest gifts you can give someone facing a tough time is a willingness to listen. And yet listening doesn't come easy to us. Listening is a skill, just like speaking and writing, and the more you practice, the more proficient you become. Here are seven strategies to help you be a better listener:

  1. Choose a private and comfortable place to talk.
  2. Disregard your own feelings and thoughts and focus solely on the speaker.
  3. Look directly at the speaker.
  4. Avoid interruptions and don't talk.
  5. Demonstrate warmth in your voice and your facial expressions.
  6. Change position if you find your mind wandering or feel you are slipping away.
  7. Stay calm and be patient.

 

 

Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now available in three individual volumes: "Illness & Death," "Suicide" and "Miscarriage." Additional titles are available as e-books: "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle StoreClick here to order.


Image via stock.xchng / murielle

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Tags: how to help a grieving friend, listening to the bereaved, supporting the bereaved, sympathy and support

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