We think we listen, but few of us actually do. We are deaf most of the time, or we chose to listen selectively. We are poor listeners and consequently, poor communicators. Have you seen yourself readily opening up before some strangers? Most of the time, it is because they are good listeners. They are empathic and patient. They do not jump to judge you or give advice. They never interrupt when you were speaking. They do not rush to fill the silence while you were speaking.
But this is exactly what most of us do, as we are, we want to put it our two penny bit into every conversation. We are desperate to announce that we have had similar experiences and can come up with solutions.
While listening, it is important to look at the conversation from the listener’s perspective. The moment you become empathetic, your attitude towards the speaker changes.
The wife says something; the husband hears something else. Listening is not simply hearing; it is hearing with understanding.
Even if the conversation is long, do not interrupt, Just have patience and try to listen with a sense of feeling and involvement. Try to listen to what is not said. Many couch their feelings and deepest fears. Try to read them. Your response will be more humane and real then.
Look into the person’s eyes while listening. Be relaxed, as it makes a difference. The speaker might read your discomfort as indifferences. Also, do not allow your eyes to stray. It is better to sit and listen, as you will fare better.
Give inputs only when asked for. We often break conversations, as we want to impose our thoughts and ideas. The more you listen, the more will be the depth of the conversation as people open up. If you did not understand something, say so. It willl make the speaker feel that you are connected.
It is good idea to take notes, or ask questions. Speakers view it as interest in what they are saying.
We must never rush in, to fill a few seconds of silence. Respect pauses. Do not use it to start your piece. Wait till the speaker finishes and wants you to respond.
Many a time, we stop listening as we are thinking of what our response should be. Design your response only after the speaker has finished.
Watch yourself when someone is speaking next time and gauge the way you are reacting. Most of us are bad listeners but we realise that only when we are speaking and others are not listening. We need to reorient the way we listen. When we do, we will see new friendships blooming and experienceing better and deeper relationships.
One of the practice that you can follow is, repeat the things exactly what the speaker says, as he says, with the tone he says into your head, with no plus minus of words. This will help you increase your listening power.
Be empathetic to what the speaker is saying. Understand things that are often left unsaid.
“God gave man two ears but only one mouth that he might hear twice as much as he speaks”