Mentor Resource: How To Listen Better

Ever feel this way? Fear not, read on!

Ever feel like the frumpy feline above during a conversation with your Little? I hope not often! But we’ve all been there at some point, with someone. To support your match success, we want to share this resource on Active Listening from It’s a short read, with Cliff-notes below.

• Research suggests we remember only 25-50% of what we hear!
• Conversely, 50-75% of what you share with someone else will be forgotten (that explains a lot, right?)
• These percentages can be improved through active listening; listening for meaning beyond just the words being said

5 Active Listening Techniques
1) Pay Attention – thank you Captain Obvious, right? Less obvious techniques can help though, such as A) paying attention to your Little’s body language, B) the environment around you two, and C) not mentally preparing a response when they’re still talking.
2) Show That You’re Listening – be conscious of your body language; open v. closed sends very different signals.
3) Provide Feedback (not judgment) – Our goal as active listeners is to understand, so use techniques like A) clarifying questions or B) summarizing what you think you’re hearing, “What I’m hearing you say is…”
4) Defer Judgment – consciously avoid interrupting. Also, when you do start to interrupt, stop yourself, apologize to the speaker, and encourage them to continue. A lot of our Littles have a tough time with interrupting, so doing this provides a great model of how they can improve their own listening skills as well.
5) Respond Appropriately – be candid, open, honest (as opposed to feeling compelled to agree with everything they say). It builds trust if you’re willing to share about your own life.

The good thing about active listening is, you can practice anytime, even if the person you’re doing it with doesn’t know! (This can be fun actually, to see whether you can do it well enough that they notice.) If you have thoughts or feedback, please let us know. For instance, if there are topics you would like addressed in future support e-mails. Thank you, mentors! And remember…

“Research suggests that just one caring, safe relationship early in life gives any child a much better shot at growing up healthy.” – NPR, March 2015

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