I mean honestly stop and listen when someone is speaking with you.
Have you ever been in a conversation, yet you feel the other person is not really engaged with what you are saying? Maybe you are sitting with your partner, or child watching television. You continue watching but give the indication you are listening. I know I am guilty of this.
The world we live in now is not only busy but noisy. Distractions everywhere and it gets tiring to listen. It seems harder for us to pay attention to the quiet. We are more polarized and divided than ever. We make decisions based on what we already believe instead of listening to each other.
We have been losing our way of listening – truly listening with intention. Have you noticed that some people become impatient when in conversation? They do not want to spend their time or believe they are just too busy to listen. There should be a balance of listening and speaking.
The art of conversation seems to be replaced by texting now AND with abbreviated words. The less language the better.
What can we do to become better listeners? Why? Because listening intentionally always creates understanding and of course better relationships.
Here are some tips of mine to improve your listening.
Stop and listen to the sounds around you then choose just one and focus on it. It could be the sound of the overhead fan or maybe the dishwasher.
Find a place of silence and savor the moments. Just a few minutes each day to quieten your mind and just be.
Think about how you are listening in conversations. Is it active or passive? How would you want the person listening to you be? Of course, active and engaged with you!
Again, think about your listening style. Is it critical or empathetic?
A pet hate is if you are telling your story and you can see this person just bursting to butt in. They have thought about something and regardless of your story and the relevance of theirs they take over. Most don’t listen with the intent to understand they listen to respond.
Or you are in conversation and others must tell you about “a time when” or “I had that worse than you” or “I remember when”. They do not want to listen to your story they take over with theirs.
How to listen:
Do not multitask, be present in that moment not half in half out
Do not preach – that’s really boring – enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn. Set aside your opinion.
Go with the flow – let your thoughts go in and out of your mind. Do not interrupt.
If you do not know something, say you do not know
Do not equate your experience with theirs. It is not about you it is their experience
Try not to repeat yourself – it’s boring and condescending
Use open-ended questions. How did that feel?
Be brief – we don’t need all the details, be interested in other people
The number one. Yes, you got it, listen.
Every one of us needs to listen consciously, with the intent to truly listen and then we will all live fuller lives. There is no way to show how to pay attention if you are already paying attention.
The average person talks 250 words per minute but can listen to about 500 words per minute. It takes energy to listen but if you do not then it is not a conversation.
Is there anything more important than connection and understanding for better, happier lives?
Stay strong and let’s grow together remembering kind is a BIG word.