Episode #83 Listen To Understand

In order to be fully loved, we must be fully known. But in order to be fully known, we must first be understood. This week, Dr. Michael Brown and Dan Costello discuss the key to knowing and loving others well.

Show Notes

My wife is listening to understand. So she asks me how my day is, and she does it consistently. And because she does it consistently, every day she is learning more about what I do for a living. So now I feel more comfortable to share the specific things that are going on in my day.
Dan Costello

Three Problems

  • It is hard to be a good listener when we are constantly thinking about what to say next.
  • We often decide that we “could never understand” someone before we have made a genuine effort to listen to them.
  • There cannot be unity without understanding.

Three Principles

  • Conversations become more meaningful when we ask fantastic questions.
  • The better we listen, the more details others will feel comfortable sharing with us.
  • Every human being has stories worth hearing, especially those who are different from us.

Seven Practices

  • Adjust the phrasing of standard questions like “How are you?” or “How was work?” to demonstrate that you really care.
  • Make a practice of following conversations wherever they lead rather than directing conversations where you want them to go.
  • Utilize the phrase, “That is so interesting. Tell me more.”
  • Turn off the TV, put down the phone, and close the laptop when speaking with others.
  • When you feel like you don’t understand someone’s perspectives, ask yourself, “Have I listened enough?”
  • When your relationships feel stagnant, make a practice of listening more closely and asking thoughtful questions.
  • Initiate a conversation this week with just one goal: to understand.