Conversations: Attending skills when conversing

Conversations and Attending when Conversing: Attending when conversing means focusing, looking, and paying attention.These three components of conversation are easy to understand and produce more satisfying conversations.

Paying attention to someone in a conversation is called “attending.” It means that your ears, your eyes, your body and your feelings are all focused on that person at one time. Attending is a very important part of all conversations and any relationship.

It includes:

Physical Presence

Relationships are a building process. Your friend, child, lover (and you) gradually share interests, feelings, and goals. Usually this sharing is done in great part through conversations.

That often requires being together physically. Also, your physical presence shows the other person that you care about them. It affirms that he/she is important to you.

Focusing

Focusing means all of your physical and psychological attention is directed toward the other person during the entire conversation. Your body language is good. You are open and relaxed. You are squarely facing and slightly inclined toward your friend. Your facial expressions convey interest and comprehension.

Keep the focus on the other person. Relating similar personal experiences or offering solutions to problems takes focus away from the other person and places it on you. Even though you may feel you are offering empathy or sympathy in this manner, it sometimes seems that you can turn any conversation around to you.

Looking

Remember to look with your eyes.

A classic example of looking with “your eyes” is a child coloring or drawing while the mother cleans the kitchen. The child finishes a picture quickly and repeatedly says, “Look at this one, Mommy.”

The mother mumbles, ‘Good, Meagan” or “That’s great,” while continuing to rinse dishes.

Finally the child says, “Look now, Mommy. Look with your eyes.”

Looking at another person shows that you are “there for him/her” during conversations. It usually requires eye contact.

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