The Art of Listening
Ask yourself this question and be really truthful - Do you think it is important to be a good listener?
Isn’t it strange that in this cyber-era where we can all talk or be talked at 24/7 that we are actually losing the art of listening. That the ability to listen has lagged so in this digital age, when channels of communication have multiplied, seems especially ironic and counter-intuitive.
One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.
The “art” of listening is just that—an art form that takes practice to perfect. Mastering it costs nothing, but it can change your life for the better and make the people around you like and respect you even more. Being a good listener not only improves the self esteem and well-being of those you are listening to but also gives you - the listener - esteem amongst your peers and makes you feel good about yourself. It makes you a good friend and makes people want to spend more time with you.
Most of us don’t listen well because we are too busy talking or thinking about our own desires, arguments, validations and how we want to get these views across and sometimes we don’t even bother to consider what other people have to say.
If we switch our thought processes and consider how much more valued we feel when we are listened to, when others empathise with us, offer support and consider how that makes us feel then shouldn’t we all be prepared to work on our listening skills.
Often when family, friends, colleagues want to talk they are not necessarily looking for solutions -they are wanting to verbalise, get their emotions out there, make sense of their thought processes - this can help them achieve clarity that can help them move forward and it can also help you to see things from a different perspective.
A good listener is empathetic, non-judgemental, patient, attentive and is attuned to body language - both their own and the speakers. Over 90% of communication is non-verbal so it can be really important to pick up on those coded messages.
The next time someone asks for your time and wants to sit down and talk, practice your listening skills - make sure you are not distracted by your thoughts or environment - give them the courtesy of your full attention. Remember what goes around comes around and the next time when it’s your turn to do the talking hopefully the favour will be returned.