02 Mar SWIHYSI
I find that in difficult conversations listening to the other person is often complicated. I often discover that instead of listening, I am preparing, in my mind, for how I want to respond. What would happen to our conversations if we started really listening to each other rather than preparing our responses?
Several years ago I was introduced to an amazing tool to help me listen better. This tool has become a staple amongst our staff team. We aptly refer to it as “SWIHYSI”: ‘So what I hear you saying is…‘ In any conversation, instead of responding with what I think, I respond by restating another’s thoughts and begin speaking with, ‘so what I hear you saying is…’
Restating what you hear is a profound way to show that you are listening, and also provides an opportunity for the person speaking to know that she/he is being heard.
Jesus was the master at restating what people were communicating. I’m reminded of his encounter with a women at a well in John 4. He restated her comments and it started a spiritual interaction that brought about her conversion.
I would challenge all of us: the next time you are in a conversation with someone, take three simple steps:
- Listen closely to what the other person in communicating.
- Stop thinking about what you are going to say.
- “SWIHYSI” the other person. Respond to him (or her) by restating his/her thoughts as you heard them.
This simple tool will have a massive impact in our abilities to listen, communicate and live together in unity.