THE ART OF LISTENING
It is the province of knowledge to speak. And it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Hello friends forgive my absence I’ve had to deal with a lot lately; but am back and i would love to talk about “Listening” i tagged this write up “The Art Of Listening cos i truly believe listening is an art. let be start by stating that “Hearing”is different from “Listening”. Hearing is the process of perceiving sound produced by any sound source in the environment while listening is the process of deriving meaning from organized sounds. Listening is also more complicated and entailing than hearing. bottom line the difference between these two is “Attention”. Listening is a skill — one that is capable of being not only honed, but lost. No wonder listening is an undervalued art. Research shows that we speak at a rate of about 125 words per minute, yet we have the capacity to listen to approximately 400 words per minute. So what are we doing with that extra space in our minds when someone else is talking? Are we really listening?
–To listen fully means to pay close attention to what is being said beneath the words.
Listening is essential to fulfilling relationships. If you are experiencing challenging interactions or you want your connections to deepen, reflect on how you can improve your listening skills. Here are some benefits of truly listening:
- People will feel be more drawn to you; they will like you more.
- You will learn something new.
- You will solve problems more effectively.
- You will experience less loneliness and frustration.
- You will feel happier and more relaxed.
Learn to listen well, and watch all your relationships thrive. Here’s how.
—The best way to understand people is to listen to them.
#ArtOfListening — Ralph Nichols
1. Pay attention
Since our brains have the capacity to process 275 more words per minute than are actually spoken, we tend to fill up the void with extraneous thoughts. Notice how when someone is speaking, you are partially listening, while simultaneously planning the rest of your day, replaying a meeting that just occurred, or deciding what you will say next. Paying attention is the cardinal rule for good listening. Hear the words, and let their meaning in. If your mind wanders, simply re-focus your attention on the conversation.
—We have to listen to each other, even when we don’t agree.
2. Be receptive
If you show up with an agenda, you are not going to be available to fully hear what the other person is saying. There is no problem with having goals for an interaction, but let them go while the other person is speaking so you can hear what is being expressed. Balance your need for a given outcome with your desire to sustain a harmonious relationship.
—One who cares is one who listens.
3. Check your understanding
Make sure you can repeat what you just heard, and if you can’t, ask for clarification. You might be surprised at how much you are missing. Most people are. When you think you’ve gotten it, you might say, “So what you are saying is….” to verify your understanding.
— Secret of success,lies in d ability to get the other person’s point of view & see things from his angle as well as yours
4. Be an explorer
Explorers are open and curious. They are inquisitive, without knowing what they will find. So what to do with all of that excess brain power? Focus on the speaker. Notice body language, tone of voice, and rate of speaking. Then look beneath the words to see what feelings and needs are being communicated. You never know what you might find.
— The golden rule of friendship is to listen to others as you would have them listen to you.
5. Show interest
If you find yourself bored and distracted, reconnect with the interaction. Maintain eye contact, uncross your arms, and ask questions that take the conversation deeper. Find out what really matters to the person you are speaking with.
— Eyes see only light, ears hear only sound, but a listening heart perceives meaning.
6. Be patient
As much as you may be tempted, don’t speak over someone who is talking. When you feel the urge to step in, take a breath, let your agenda go, and continue to listen. If you need to move the conversation along, do so politely, as in, “Excuse me, I’m so sorry for interrupting, but ….” Likewise, be careful not to jump to conclusions or assume you know what hasn’t yet been said. These are all signs that your inner explorer has fallen asleep. Revitalize your experience by paying attention to what is happening in the moment.
— Listening is a sign of respect. It makes people feel valued.
7. Get out of a rut
Have you ever had the same problematic conversation with someone over and over? Bring a fresh perspective to the relationship by redoubling your efforts to listen. Let go of your need to be right or your ideas about what the other person should be saying or doing, and hear them as if for the first time. This moves you from contraction and limit to possibility and potential simply by listening.
— One person who is truly understanding, and takes the trouble to listen to us,can change our whole outlook on the world.
#ArtOfListening — Dr. E. H. Mayo
Effective listening develops empathy, which is the capacity for a deep understanding of another’s experience. And isn’t that what it takes for a relationship to thrive? It’s as simple as paying attention.
— We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.
Here are some suggestions for developing your listening skills:
- Develop the desire to listen. You must accept the fact that listening to others is your strongest weapon. Given the opportunity, the other person will tell you everything you need to know. If this doesn’t create desire, I don’t know what will.
- Always let the other person do most of the talking.This is a simple matter of mathematics. I suggest a 70/30 rule. You listen 70% of the time and you talk 30% of the time.
- Don’t interrupt. There is always the temptation to interrupt so you can tell the other person something you think is vitally important. It isn’t, so don’t. When you are about to speak, ask yourself if it is really necessary.
- Learn active listening. It’s not enough that you’re listening to someone – you want to be sure that they know you’re listening. Active listening is the art of communicating to the other person that you’re hearing their every word.
- Ask for clarification if needed. This will clear up any misunderstanding you have.
- Get used to ‘listening’ for nonverbal messages – body language. The other person may be communicating with you via body language. You need to decode the message.
- Ask a question…then shut up. This is a foolproof way to listen. Think of yourself as an interviewer – Barbara Walters! She listens and questions – so should you.
A good listener tries to understand what is being said first; he/she may disagree, but at least he/she knows exactly what they are disagreeing with.
Tips For Asking Questions
Once you have learned how to keep yourself from speaking, the art of asking questions is the shortcut to effective listening. Here are some tips for asking questions:
- Ask open-ended questions. Questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. “How could we do this?” “What do you think?” Your objective is to get them to talk as much as possible.
- Don’t ask questions that put them on the defensive. For example, “Why?” is intimidating. Don’t ask “why?” Ask “how come?”
- Ask “What if?” What if we did it this way?
- Ask for their advice. “What would you suggest we do to resolve this?” Everyone loves to be asked for advice.
- Offer alternatives. “Which way would you prefer?” This demonstrates your respect for the other person.
- Ask about their feelings. “How do you feel about this?” People love to have their feelings validated.
- Repeat back what they said. “Let me be sure I understand what you’re saying. You’re saying that…?” This technique will prevent misunderstandings and convince them that you really are listening.
—Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals.