As a resident assistant, I remember feeling carried away with fascination as our mentor taught us about the ways to say “I’m listening” with our manner and posture. I had always considered listening to be a task managed with ease by my ears and I was intrigued by the idea that it was a whole body endeavor. So, without further adieu I will relate to you the ways we can listen with our whole selves.
Eye Contact. Have you ever tried to talk to someone and maintain eye contact for more than a few seconds? It’s rare that people will hold your gaze for very long. I like to think that earnest regard can be conveyed through eyes willing to see the speaker, whether the person is 4 or 44. In the 14 years since I was taught this lesson, there have been technological advances (i.e. my iPhone) that have forced me to be intentional about trying to connect and listen with my eyes. I do that by seeking eye contact. Sometimes it takes looking at the side of someone’s head for a bit (because they’re looking at anything but me) but I keep offering it regardless. People say a lot of things with their eyes…have you noticed?
Tomorrow…Listening; with your arms.