Listening is the second most important aspect of good communication. Most people will rather talk than listen. Especially when we are upset or hurt, we want to be assertive and get our feelings out there!
|source: google images|
Listening means making an effort to concentrate on what a person is saying, and being as eager to listen as you are to speak. Someone once said- the reason why God made us with one mouth and two ears is because he wanted us to listen twice as much as we speak. I mean, think about it, makes sense doesn't it?
SH mentioned that communication experts have a term to describe poor listening habits- 'egospeak'. This is when you are already thinking of what you are going to say once the other person has stopped talking. Or jumping in before the other person has finished speaking. Do you see yourself having egospeak. I think most of us have it!
Good listening has to be learnt as it doesn't come naturally to us. Here are some pointers SH presenter:
Recognise the obstacles that prevent effective listening and work on practical steps to eliminating them. One major obstacle is defensiveness. Think about it, when you are defensive all you are thinking about is how to make your position on an issue known, shooting down the other person's comments and why they are wrong and why you are right. You think less of what the other person has to say.
Another obstacle is self centredness or self preoccupation. This is where ego comes in. The ego need to talk rather than to listen. You know, when you are more interested in yourself than in your partner. If we focus on developing genuine love we can become better listeners.
Another obstacle to good listening is physical or mental fatigue. When you try to discuss important issues at the wrong time, listening becomes a great burden. Observe your partner and know when they are more alert and rested before trying to discuss serious matters.
Can you think of any other obstacles to effective listening??
Learn to listen to the feelings behind a person's words and not just the words. SH says- "there is no better way of assuring a person that you are a perspective listener than when you identify the feelings that lies underneath the words." It is the quickest way of making a person feel understood and when a person feels understood, they become less defensive and more cooperative. This takes discipline and practice but often yields great results.
SH gave an exercise in the book with some statements and a list of feelings to associate with those statements.
One way to develop perspective listening is repeating to your partner precisely what you have heard them say. This gives them a chance to confirm or deny the accuracy of what you have understood them say as communication could get distorted between sender and receiver. Of course this shouldn't be done for every single conversation but for the specially important and crucial conversations. Most times we assume we know where the other person is going with a conversation which ends up not being the case. Restating what your partner says indicates a commitment to your partner's well being. You are letting him or her know that you are interested and care about how he or she feels.
Learn to listen as it can bring about a transformation in your marriage.
I have missed some parts in this section as it was more practical with scenarios but hopefully the points above will still be helpful. We will discuss "Understanding", the last important component of effective communication next time.
I found this picture online and though it seems funny the message is simple and makes plenty sense :)
|source: google images.|
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Have a great week!