A Lesson on Listening (#3 – Learn How to Show Value)

In an effort to learn how to be a better listener, you should understand when to shut up, what to hear, how to show value, and why it matters.



Consider these two scenarios for a listener’s response to someone disclosing information about a crisis situation:

[Scenario 1: leg crossed, arms folded across chest]      “I’m sorry to hear that.”

[Scenario 2: leaning forward, palms up]                        “I’m sorry to hear that.”

Your eye contact and your body posture communicate care and concern as much as your words can express. The best thing to say often times has nothing to do with the words from your mouth. [1]

When someone comes to you to talk, they need you to listen and be a shepherd, not a jerk. You can show value to another person by giving them your undivided attention. A depreciation of value can occur when you take a “divide and conquer” approach. If you think that you can “diversify your portfolio” and multitask while listening, I can assure you that you will be multitasking, but you won’t be listening. Multitasking is happening, but it’s not as intended. When you speak up while you’re trying to listen or when you are looking away while trying to listen, you are doing multiple things: (1) you’re not listening, and (2) you’re being a jerk.

Pastors, don’t be a jerk.

If you’re not making eye contact, chances are that the individual does not feel genuine concern AND you are probably not retaining the information being shared with you. Try to follow a TV show through hearing the dialogue alone, and then try to retell the events of the episode with thorough details. Not so easy, right? How is this different from hearing someone share about their life while not maintaining eye contact and then trying to help them process the event?

An underdeveloped listener is likely an overinflated ego.[2] Value is not bestowed on you because you are willing to pretend to hear, but value is given to another when you are willing to treat him/her as you would want to be treated.

If someone comes to you in need of a listening ear, he is indicating to you that he values your trust and perhaps your advice. In return, your eye contact and body posture should indicate to him that HE is the most important person in the room:

You are not distracted.
You are not too busy or too important.
You care about and value him/her.
You are listening.



[1] What could this mean for the congregation listening to your shepherds? What do your verbal and non-verbal cues communicate to the pastor?

[2] “Underdeveloped listening skills are usually representative of overinflated egos.” @mikemyatt




Husband. Father. Reader and Writer. Disc Golf Enthusiast. Missions & Growth.

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