Tuesday, 24 October 2006

The Art of Listening

Recently, I met with a client, who was concerned that his wife tells him regularly that he is not listening to her when they have a "conversation". This was causing a great deal of stress in the relationship. I paid ATTENTION and became AWARE of his patterns. He was going inside and deep in his own thoughts. He confirmed this verbally. So, I gave him the following simple and basic suggestions:

  1. Avoid thinking about or formulating your response while the other person is speaking. (Which he admitted doing)
  2. Avoid arguing mentally
  3. Avoid analysing their statements. (He said he did this also)
  4. Avoid mind reading and taking comments personally. Simply ask them, "What do you mean?
  5. Shut off your worries. Stay in a positive state of mind. Your fellow communicator will notice the non-verbal messages and you will lose connection with them.
  6. Especially in our UK society, we like eye contact. When we are de-focusing our eyes, stuck at ear level, or looking away, it can mean to the speaker that you are not with them…not listening. So look at them. Acknowledge them.


Respond to their communication with occasional interjections like "yes", "I see", "I agree", etc.
My client followed these simple suggestions. He told me that his wife noticed it right away and their conversations are now really conversations. He marvels at how much more pleasant their interactions are, and how much nicer she is to be around.

The bottom line...and I have said this before...the letters in LISTEN spell the word SILENT!!

When you ask a question...Shut the fuck up!!

DM

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