Do you listen well?
“Seek to first understand before being understood”
~J Richard Clarke
You’ve probably heard the above quote before, so…how do I gain understanding?
Understanding can take time and one of the major keys is learning how to listen. Don’t worry, if this is not your strong suit, it is a skill that you can develop.
RESOURCE: Most of the points in this post come from one of the best communication books that I have ever read: Messages, The Communication Skills Book
Six Quick Listening Roadblocks?
- Rehearsing: You are rehearsing what to say next
- Filtering: You are only listening to statements with strong emotions and tune everything else out
- Judging: You have already judged the person or the circumstance before any conversation or explanation.
- Dreaming: You are half listening, and something the person says suddenly triggers a chan of private associations.
- Identifying: When someone shares a story you always relate it back to you.
- Advising: You are quick to give advise and solutions, even when the person was not asking for advise.
I remember a conversation that I had with someone where I walked in feeling great about some decisions that I made and walked away feeling like I was doing something wrong…hmm? After analyzing this conversation, I realized they never actually heard me. This individual had pre-conceived ideas in their mind and certain things that I said triggered a series of warnings, judgements, and unsolicited advice. Their responses were coming from their own experiences and not from what I was expressing…they were not listening to me. If they would have truly listened, I am confident they would have been excited and much more supportive. (maybe we can talk about how to handle these situations in the future)
I am 100% sure that I have been in the seat of “not listening”. As a matter of fact I have kids that have called me out on it. However, becoming aware of my roadblocks helps me to intentionally enter into a conversation with my “active listening” ears on. Actively listening to someone can be such a gift, let’s continue to hone our listening skills.
Three Things I Can Do Immediately
ONE: Become aware of your listening roadblocks
TWO: Practice listening this week, with the intent of gaining understanding
“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” Proverbs 12:15