The goal of listening is to convince the discouraged individual that you understand his situation and how he feels about it. This is important, because if he doesn’t believe this, he won’t accept your encouragement.
Focus your full, undivided attention on the other person. Make him feel that he’s the only person in your world at that moment. This means steady eye contact and no distractions.
Invite him to open up. If he wants to vent his frustrations, let him. Pay attention to his tone of voice and body language. This will tell you more about the level of discouragement than the words themselves. Even though you may sense that he’s over-reacting, you must NOT say so. Just let him express his feelings about the situation – without criticism or judgment. Otherwise, he will shut down. Open the conversation with something like:
“You don’t seem like yourself today. Want to talk about it?”As you hear what he’s trying to say, check to be sure you understand. Say back what you believe he meant.
“So you’ve been working on this steady for five weeks and now you feel that all this work may have been for nothing.”And don’t deny the reality of the situation. If you say something shallow like, “You shouldn’t feel that way,” or “It’s no big deal,” you’ll lose credibility.
“You sound pretty upset. I know you feel bad about what happened, and you wish you didn’t have to deal with this on top of everything else. And for the moment you’re not sure what to do about it.”You’ll be amazed at how people will open up to you when they sense that you’re genuinely interested in how they’re doing and you demonstrate empathy with their situation.