“If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, listen to me!” comes from a long list of redundant parental mantras every kid remembers; yet, they can’t remember a single word that their parents told them a thousand times. It doesn’t get any better once we grow into adults either.
The Art of Listening should be a required course for every individual during his or her school age years.
Listening is not an inclusive multi-tasking activity. If you’re cooking dinner, washing clothes and having a conversation with your child who’s doing homework, chances are neither of you will come away with any reliable or factual information.
If you’re attending a meeting at work, you may find yourself preparing your comments before the individual leading the meeting has finished his or her own comments.
In an argument with your spouse, rather than listening to what your spouse has to say, you’re closing in on one of three excuses that might work best for you in that given situation.
Amy Cuddy, author of Presence- Bringing your Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges interjects, “Real listening can’t happen unless we have a sincere desire to understand what we’re hearing. And that’s not an easy thing to manage, because it requires us to suspend judgment–even when we’re feeling frustrated or scared or impatient or bored and even when we feel threatened or anxious about what we’re about to hear (because we think we know it or because we don’t know it). We have to give other people space and safety to be honest–and we can’t respond defensively when we’re listening. For some of us, it also means we need to overcome our fear of silence–of space.”
Objectivity levels the field when the listener is willing to set aside prejudgment and be open to hearing an individual’s whole perspective without interruption. It exhibits professionalism on your part.
Cuddy continues, “The paradox of listening is that by relinquishing power – the temporary power of seeking, asserting, and knowing – we become more powerful. When you stop talking, stop preaching, and listen, here’s what happens: (1) People can trust you; (2) You acquire useful information; (3) You begin to see other people as individuals – and maybe even allies; (4) You develop solutions that other people are willing to accept and even adopt; and (5) When people feel heard, they are more willing to listen.”
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes, wouldn’t you want to simply be heard? When it comes down to it, it’s just plain, good manners.
When you listen to someone, it’s the most profound act of human respect. ~ William Ury
Originally Published on The Bay City Tribune website (http://baycitytribune.com/) on March 7, 2016