Listening a Person into Life: How to Listen Well

Video 11

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Good listening allows us to hear what another person is really saying without applying the filter of our own experience, judgment, values, and needs. Explore the process of active listening, the five levels of listening, and common barriers to listening.

Scripture for Reflection

“Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” (James 1:19)

“But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’” (Luke 11:28)

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” (Jeremiah 29:12)

Reflection Questions 

  1. Was there a word, phrase, or idea that resonated with me? That was new to me?
  2. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People says, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Is this how I listen in my day-to-day life? Honestly reflect on your listening tendencies. Looking at the 5 Levels of Listening, which level most accurately describes how I listen most of the time?  
  3. Do I take time to listen to God each day? Do I give myself time to be silent? Or am I constantly exposed to noise?
  4. When have I felt listened to in my life? What effect did it have on me?
  5. Sister Gianna Maria says, “When someone is in crisis or distress, or they are vulnerable, or sharing an intimate part of themselves, they deserve to be heard and understood.   When we actually listen and understand someone this gives us the perspective we need to best help them out of their crisis!” How have I experienced this to be true in my own life and relationships?
  6. Sister Amata Filia says, “Level 5 listening requires empathy. It shows that we don’t have to have all the answers, and sometimes we don’t even have to say much at all. We just have to listen and be willing to step into someone’s world.” Am I willing to step into someone else’s world, to try to see the world as they do? Am I willing to let Jesus step into my world? Will I give him permission to do so?
  7. Is there a fruit from my prayer that I would like to share with others?

Discussion Questions

  1. Is there a fruit from your prayer that you would like to share with others?
  2. The Sisters describe the four steps of listening as attending (showing someone we are present to them by our body language), following (demonstrating our attention through verbal cues), reflecting (described more in the next video), and silence (giving someone the space to respond). Have you thought about listening in this way before? Is it new to you? How does it resonate with you? Reflect on each of the steps. Are there ways you can apply these steps in your life? How would listening like this change your conversations and relationships?
  3. Sister Amata Filia says, “Don’t give in to the temptation that we have to fill in every moment with more words! Pauses or silence in a conversation can be a powerful moment of just resting in what the other has said, showing empathy, or just giving us the opportunity to take it all in and to come up with a meaningful reply, not just one that is off the cuff.” What is your experience of silence in conversations? How can silence create a helpful space for deeper communication? Are you open to trying to make more room for silence in your conversations?
  4. Sister Amata Filia says, “We never want to come across as that person who looks down on someone, giving our own one-sided perspective or advice, but as someone who understands the real struggles [others] are experiencing.” Why is empathy so important in listening well? 
  5. Untimely advice, agreement/disagreement, and assurance are three common barriers to communication. Which of these barriers am I most likely to engage in? How can these well-intentioned comments dissuade someone from sharing more? Have you ever had an experience like this yourself? Why is it so important to let someone “empty the bucket” before offering our own thoughts? 


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