1. Listening is an
ACTIVITY: it is active,
not passive. If you are not actively participating as one
of a two-person give and take, you are not listening.
Listening requires that you askquestions and give_feedback.
Remember the 4 agendas of listening:
to understand someone
2. to enjoy someone
3. to learn
4. to give help or solace
is a basic tool of listening.
"What I hear you saying is..." "Do you mean..." "In other
words do you mean..." "So how you felt was..."
Paraphrasing helps get two peoples different ways of
seeing things closer together in service of one of the 4
agendas of listening. Paraphrasing defines common ground,
helps de-esclate hard feelings, and is an antidote to most
blocks in listening. The listener also feels authentically
listened to and appreciated.
2. Listening with EMPATHY
has only one requirement: recognize, accept, and
understand that we are simply doing the best we can to
live as well as we can, with the tools that we have, and
it is rarely easy. Some people have better defences and
survival strategies than others. Kindness, meanness,
anger, tears, consideration, abruptness, attentiveness,
are all ways of "staying alive". Those who have a lot of
self-defeating strategies may grate on us: ask yourself
what difficulties have they lived through in order to
develop their strategies.
3. LISTENING WITH OPENNESS:
Judgment is quick and easy. Some prices to be paid are: if
you are in error, you are going to be the last to know;
you don't grow because you mind is already made up; you
dismiss otherwise valuable people because you disagree
with one idea (throwing the baby out with the bath-water);
other people will turn off and avoid you and your
reputation, and you avoid learning how you are sometimes
wrong or misinformed. An interesting exercise to turn this
around is to mentally take their side and defend their
position. See if you learn something about yourself and
the "firmness" of your judgment.
4. LISTENING WITH
AWARENESS: Two parts:
Compare what's being said to your own knowledge and
history, people, the way things are and how the world
operates in general,
listen and observe for congruence. Congruence occurs
when the content (story) matches the process
(feeling/behaviour) level. If someone tells you that
they just lost their job and their house burned down and
they are smiling and sipping coffee; the process and
content don't match. They are having big trouble with
their feelings about those two major events (a form of
5. INTEGRATED LISTENING:
You want to be listened to, others want to be listened to;
here are some skills to keep in mind as a package deal to
do when listening.
1. Maintain good eye contact - but that does not mean
2. Lean slightly forward - but don't end up in their lap!
3. Reinforce others by paraphrasing, and giving feedback.
4. Ask specific questions for clarification. Go slowly.
5. Actively move away from distractions like small crowds.
6. Be committed, even if you have strong feelings about
the issue, to understanding what is being said, and how it
is being said.