Proper communication will begin and end with active listening. It cannot happen otherwise. If active listening is not practiced, then proper understanding will not happen. Active listening begins with a desire to know what is being communicated and demonstrated by being engaged with all of one’s attention focused on the one communicating.
Only with active listening can one know how to respond properly. Some practical suggestions for all of us to become better listeners; and, therefore, better communicators.
- Listen with your whole being (watch for non-verbal cues, listen for tone, etc)
- Do not interrupt
- Clarify that you heard the one speaking correctly (restate their words/intention as you heard it)
- Do not jump to conclusions, allow them to finish the whole thought
- Ask questions, what, when, where, (not why, puts them on defensive)
- Think before you respond.
James 1:18-20 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.  This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;  for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
God has given us this great principle in James 1:19. He did not tell us not to speak, but He did tell to be ‘slow to speak’. Since God has called us out of the world to be examples to others, may we be the best we can be in all things. One way to show care and concern is to develop good communication skills. When we are good listeners, we become better communicators and thereby, show that we care for others.
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;  do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Make it a point to become a good listener today. Begin practicing the art of listening and watch as you begin to learn more things about those around you. You may be surprised that the more you listen the better your relationships become.
May we all learn to listen better.