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My What Big Ears You Have…

26 Apr

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”  Stephen R. Covey.

How to NOT listen:

  • zone out
  • ignore details
  • be impatient
  • control or compete
  • hear what you YOU expect to hear based on assumption, stereotype or prejudice

How to REALLY listen:

  • focus
  • pay attention and remove distractions
  • patiently appreciate their effort to communicate
  • listen with your ears, eyes and heart so as to grasp the basic message and the feeling and meaning behind it, along with the unsaid
  • if you aren’t sure of the deeper message, seek clarification by asking gentle questions like ” When you said…what did you actually mean?”
  • when do you understand, take the time to reflect back what you have heard so he or she can process and hear their own thoughts e.g “Sounds like you’re really hungry Mr Wolf.”

When we use our ears to listen with an intent to understand, we:

  • absorb the words and allow them to bounce around in us until they sink in enough to touch our feelings and create meaning
  • turn on compassion
  • open our hearts in the present moment
  • make the other person feel heard and validated
  • create an environment of emotional safety and,
  • hopefully avoid being gobbled up.

How are your listening skills?