Friday, October 01, 2010

Art of Listening

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you realized that they were looking at you while you were talking but weren't really listening? Nobody likes that feeling, but the simple truth is that most of us are better talkers than listeners. So if we want to work on our communication skills, we can take the initiative to start with our own listening skills.
The art of listening has a lot to do with the difference between hearing what someone is saying and actually paying full attention to what they are saying. What we simply hear can very easily come in one ear and go out the other, but when we really focus on listening to what the other person is saying, something physiological happens to us. We may register that information physically, emotionally, or intellectually! That is because when that information captures our attention, we involve ourselves with the information that is being shared with us.
When someone else is talking to us, it is important not to interrupt them. It is true that we all have our stories to tell, but when we are listening to someone else talk it should be about them, not about us. So the next time you are listening and have the urge to interrupt them, take a breath and refocus your attention on the other person. You just might learn something important, and at the very least the person you are with will appreciate your attentiveness.

Being a good listener is to abstain from holding judgment. The minute our judgment kicks in, our listening usually stops. That is because it is hard to pay attention when we become preoccupied with our personal opinion over what we are hearing. Moreover, putting aside our judgment puts the other person at ease and helps them feel more comfortable and relaxed, so that they can be open and honest with us.

By becoming a good listener ourselves we set an example for those around us and create a better opportunity for ourselves to be heard. And on a side note, one of the better benefit of being a good listener is that when we apply these principles to listening to our own inner voice, we gain access to a world of wisdom all our own. Explore yourself!