What? If you check out Dictionary.com, you’ll find the definition for “what” is to mean "a request for information."
As a guy, using what I call my Homer Simpson Brain, that request is usually for information I should have been listening to in the first place.
Edrina will testify that, on occasion, my brain has been known to wander in a conversation – to which Edrina will say “Are you even listening to me?” My usual and very intellectual reply would be, “What?”
I’m usually a great listener, but not always. Edrina has also been known to fly around the house doing things, while I follow her like the household pet, trying to talk to her about my day. Not the communication techniques we usually teach.
Active listening is a crucial part of great communication between partners, so it’s worth talking about. Are you listening?
Here are some ways you may not be giving your partner all the listening attention they deserve in a conversation: constantly interrupting; changing the topic mid-stream; pre-thinking your answer; walking away; judging your partner as they talk; turning the conversation away from them and making yourself the centerpiece; and succumbing to surrounding distractions, including those in your head.
After thinking about it, you may be able to come up with more.
Want to listen better? Try these techniques. Use eye contact. Many people are visual communicators. They need to see and be looked at to believe they are being listened to.
Some people need more audible attends, like using the words “really” or “I see,” to know you’re listening. Restate the conversation by saying things like, “So, how did that make you feel when…”
Also, don’t pre-think your answer; it just indicates you’re not really listening.
Remember, your job is to build up your partner and active listening is just one of those “build-up” techniques.
Take time this week to focus on listening. What? Take time this week to really focus on listening to your partner.