Welcome to this new series of Soul Food which is on the topic of Relational Intelligence. Life is all about relationships and we’ll be looking at a whole range of skills and insights to improve our relationships – at home, at work, at school, in our neighbourhoods … wherever we find ourselves. 

Relationships are built, developed, and maintained through good communication and an essential part of good communication is the art of listening

  1. Listening communicates love and value
  2. Listening helps you understand other people. 
  3. Listening earns you the right to be heard.

Unfortunately, we easily develop a bunch of bad habits when it comes to listening. I know, because I’ve mastered all of these!

  1. Inattentiveness – because we are not concentrating or are preoccupied with our own thoughts.
  2. Interrupting – finishing people’s sentences for them or jumping with our thoughts.
  3. Advice-giving – quickly putting on our ‘fix it’ cap and telling people what we think they should do. Just a quick tip – most people don’t want to be ‘fixed’, they simply what to be heard and understood first of all. 

Thankfully, we can all develop some good habits when it comes to listening: 

  1. Show Interest – be genuinely interested in other people and what they have to say. This curiosity will help you be a better listener. In many ways, you show a person’s worth and value to you by giving full attention to their words.
  2. Focus – make eye contact, concentrate, and listen carefully. This takes effort. 
  3. Ask questions – questions are powerful. They encourage people to open up about what they know or feel, they create meaningful conversation, and they help us learn. Try these questions for going a little deeper in your interactions with people: “So then what happened …” “Tell me more …” “How was that for you?” 

Are you a good listener? Why not talk a little less this week. Ask a lot more questions. Listen more.

You’ll be a better friend … and you’ll learn a lot.

Someone once said, “We have two ears, but only one mouth, so we may listen twice as much as we speak.” That’s good advice.

Make a decision to be a better listener, beginning today. In doing so, all of your relationships will benefit.

This has been Soul Food with Mark Conner. See you next week!

You can watch this episode on video on the Soul Food YouTube Channel.

The topics covered so far in this Relational Intelligence series include:

  1. Listening
  2. Emotional Intelligence
  3. Empathy
  4. Authenticity
  5. Love Languages
  6. Confrontation
  7. Forgiveness

Topics yet to be released include: Trust, Atmosphere, Anger, Acceptance, Encouragement, Apology, Friendship, Assertiveness, and Feedback.

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