When was your last time to practice attentive listening? We all engage in conversations on daily basis, how often do we truly listen? Do we just hear others or do we offer them our attention while they speak? Do we listen to the meaning behind their words or we just hear what they say and interpret it in our own terms?One of the biggest communication problems is that people tend to listen to reply not to understand, as stated by Covey in his Seven Habits book. My fourteen years old daughter was attending a Leadership camp last month. Sharing the values she learned there, she talked to me about ‘Communication’ and how she was taught that the main problem in almost all relationships lies in our poor abilities to listen.
Are we good listeners? How to listen well? The first thing I read about listening was that it’s considered an Art, it requires basic learning, practice and constant evaluation to develop, improve and evolve. Second, to be good listeners, we need to be completely silent, busy with nothing but the person speaking to us. Third, we need to pay attention to the meaning not the words, remembering that not all people are experts in expressing themselves. Forth, we need to consider the situation itself; when was the person speaking, where, how did he feel while speaking, what he had been through before engaging in this conversation, is he facing a hard day, is he going through a tough period of his life. Fifth, we need to read his body language, his movements, his eye contact, his facial expressions, his gestures. Moreover, we need to notice his voice, his tone, his intonations.
Are we good listeners? Are we negatively affecting our relationships with our poor listening skills?
Did we lose beloved ones alone our journey failing to communicate ourselves and listening to them holistically?
Listening is a powerful Art, if practiced passionately and compassionately it will elevate the quality of our lives and will take our relations into a new era.