Are You a Good Listener?

Are You a Good Listener?

28 August 2018

When was the last time you were truly listened to? Deeply, openly and honestly listened to… it’s been a while, right?

Or, on the other hand, maybe you often find yourself on the receiving end of countless uninitiated conversations, and although sitting quietly and meekly, you’re eager to slip away at the soonest given chance to get on with your to-do list. Sound familiar?

In today’s high-tech, high-speed, high-stress world it seems as if everyone is communicating elsewhere. Have you noticed how no-one is without their piece of technology… frequently looking down and completely distracted? True, our lives have all been changed by technology and hey, it’s inevitable and important. But, in a sense we’ve become emotionally uninvolved. Kids text their parents rather than having a conversation and partners send texts rather than make phone calls… simply the way things are done today.

Yet, the most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. And, according to Ralph Nichols: “The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” Easy, right? Wrong. Listening mindfully is more complicated than you think.

Turns out that the art of listening is on the endangered list. Did you know that humans process only 2 000 of the 400 billion pieces of information that come into our brain per second? This means that we only process a tiny fraction of what we hear from others. In fact, researchers claim that we only remember 25 to 50% of what we hear… somehow, we are lost in translation, don’t you agree?

But, why bother? Where will listening actually get you? Truth is it’s the secret weapon with which we all walk around. This skill applies as much to our interpersonal relationships as to our professional lives. Listening creates understanding, empathy, compassion and connection.

Here are some suggestions that have helped others become better listeners:

Become aware and mindful of how you experience the world.

Make eye contact when someone is talking to you. If you don’t look at a person while they’re speaking, you give them the impression that you don’t care.

Shut out distractions. Put your cell phone on mute, tune out the noise and focus on what the speaker is saying.

Don’t interrupt. Often people simply need someone to talk to, not someone who will butt in and give their own opinion.

Look at non-verbal communication. 60 – 75% of our communication is non-verbal. In order to know when to encourage the speaker, or when to be more supportive; keep a close eye on the non-verbal cues.

Never judge. Be open-minded 100% of the time.

Show a response to what the speaker is saying. Nod, tilt your head, or smile.Reflect on what you’ve heard and paraphrase. Good examples are: “Are you saying that ____” or “What I heard you say was ____” or “Did you mean that ____”

Listen with your heart. Connecting on an emotional level is a powerful tool.

A wise man once said: We have two ears and only one tongue, so we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

So then, just… listen.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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