Listen – Understand – Reply
To understand someone we have to listen…
I’m an English speaking person, I know a some words in many languages, none really enough to carry on a full conversation. So when I’ve traveled to non-English countries I’ve found that I must listen to every word that was being spoken to me. I had to watch for non-verbal clues, arm movements, body and sign language even the voice tone and volume level, to capture some part of the meaning or intent of what was being said to me. Traveling really did give me some unforgettable lessons.
Although we may not always know exactly what it is, every person has a reason for what they’re trying to say. Sometimes impatience or distractedness on our part causes us to drift. Often I think it’s just that we are, human beasts… so consumed with our own opinions, that we prejudge what others are trying to say before they’ve finished. And at times even before we have our own clear thoughts about what was or is being said. We aren’t actually trying to do that, but our ego’s take over and we lose our sense of control. Even the best of us!
To be a better listener… you have to hold another person’s desire to express themselves above and over your own desire to express yourself. If you spend all or most of a conversation concentrating on something else, or even thinking about the next thing you want to say in response, you’re not really listening.
Instead of letting our minds drift in and out or thinking about what to say in response, try to actually focus on the the speaker themselves. Most people unfortunately are easily distracted by thoughts of what they want to say, sometimes they may even be a little exited about a thought they have and want to respond immediately so they don’t forget it. Other times they simply have their own opinion locked and loaded to fire off as soon as there is the slightest break in dialogue. What we must do, is really try to hold off and let the other person finish their thought, then let the response flow naturally and directly from and in response to what they has just said.
The interesting thing is none of us are perfect…we try so hard to appear that way, but we aren’t. Most of the time we just simply miss the point; that we are social beings and learn an immense amount from just being with and listening to others. Recently I read something that sounded very simple yet somewhat profound in regard to listening to people.
To be an active part of an conversation we must:
- Explore, what is being said in terms of the speakers world
- Respond, try to be very clear of what what was said, and respond again in terms of the speakers world
- Encourage, the conversation to be a back and forth flow, for each to understand clearly
Conversations by nature are two way, although there will always be some people who are self-centered and demand more. But that is not the intent of the majority. Most, want to have meaningful conversations, especially with those we care about. We just have little or no experience at doing this. Response thinking we must try and try and try again.
A meaningful conversation is about finding a connection where the potential exists. Often subliminal, but present nonetheless. If someone is talking the time to speak with you, they are trying to make a connection, and it’s more of a privilege than many may comprehend. More than mere words are happening, more than great or grandiose thoughts, we are giving and receiving a portion of life, through the time that we are with them. Honestly there is little else that can even come close to being so valuable a gift.
So the true essence of being a great listener then is to appreciate and cherish all the moments that we spend with others, for they will never again return to us. Give others your full attention. If we all try to do this, then we will make the world a better place for all!
Webbingz, Connectionz are what Matterz!