How many times have you said something like this to your partner or child, when they accused you of not listening to them? Or, on the other side of the v. how many times have you gotten p***ed off when someone said this to you? There’s no way that listening is the same as hearing and when someone hears you (and then regurgitates back), that’s not listening. I’ve heard this statement before and it always drove me bonkers.
Most people (this includes me at times), hear — but we don’t listen. Our minds are elsewhere. Sometimes we end up being more concerned about getting our perspective out there. Sometimes we just want to validate our assumptions/thoughts/feelings.
I want to work on getting better at this one. I want to be a better listener. Since listening is a skill, that means it’s something we (“I”) can work on and get better at!
I once read that to listen effectively you should CARE for those you’re listening to:
C – concentrate – focus on the speaker
A – acknowledge – through body language – nod your head occasionally or say uh-huh
R – respond – ask questions for clarification and interest
E – empathize – share in their emotions and feelings. Validate your partner
Now this sounds basic and easy enough but I want to go deeper. So, I’ve added my own s*** into the mix:
1. I’m going to check my defensiveness at the door. This is a difficult thing to do – especially when someone is challenging us. But lately, I’ve learned so much more from people who challenge my assumptions, than those who are yes men/women.
2. I’m going to remind myself that my ideas are not any more important than someone else’s. In fact, they could very likely be less important. I really do want to learn and what better way then to listen to someone’s opinions (even if they are so opposite from mine!)?
3. I’m going to be quiet – with my mouth and in my mind. We can’t listen if we’re talking. And we can’t listen if we’re thinking of other things. I want to be fully ready to listen with my mouth closed and my mind open!
There’s so much we can give to those we know (and those we don’t) and I believe listening fully to someone is one of the best gifts we can give them. I feel so good when someone is really listening to me. And, I feel amazing when I can really listen to someone else and experience the power of their feelings.
Remember: silence isn’t golden … it’s powerful!
Have a wonderful day!