Thank you for the messages wishing me a speedy recovery. I am feeling a lot better than I did on Sunday. As a consequence of being ill I lost my voice so a perfect recipe to read and rest.
Rested and ready to return to work, I want to write about the importance of listening. Assuming we have hearing abilities, then we all listen every day. Do we really listen though?. In my experience most people only listen long enough to form their own response to what is being said. It is a tragedy of human nature that so many people are hungry to meet others but are reluctant to hear them.
It is one of the greatest feelings in life is to be understood by another. We know when we are being listened to, it feels wonderful to be understood but sadly it happens rarely. So why don’t we listen more often? Often we have ongoing dialogue in our heads. Many times we are are distracted. Or just that we feel we have heard enough.
So how can you improve your listening skills:
- Pay attention
- Show you are listening
- Provide feedback
- Defer judgement
- Respond appropriately
This seems a lot of effort I hear you exclaim. Why bother? For one thing it builds trust, which is vital to build long lasting relationships. If that doesn’t convince you how about this, if you really listen you get to see the world from someone else’s perspective. I love reading fiction and the empathy that it gives you is the same as truly listening to a person and empathy is the route to understanding.
I need to sign off now and go to bed but one last case for why we should listen. It is a shame to confess but I will do it anyway, I have been in trouble a few times in my life for talking too much, I remain deeply embarrassed about that but there it is. I have however never been in trouble for listening too much.