A.A. Milne put into the mouth of his hero the following words: “If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”
How many times have we experienced this? Someone seems to hear us but do not look like they are listening?
Is this our fault? We have so many things to worry about, problems to deal with and things to do.
The good news is that listening is something that we can develop with practice.
Let’s start with what makes being a good listener possible.
1. Stay focused
Many times we aren’t concentrating on the conversation and what really counts is our conscious presence.
We should not try to plan our answer in our head while still listening and waiting impatiently for our interlocutor to let us speak. We should stay in the here and now for our interlocutor. Can we afford to try deep listening and use an open mind? Listen with a new perspective, develop curiosity and new points of view?
Yes, it is a challenge! 🙂
2. Do not interrupt
Ernest Hemingway wrote that „A human being needs two years to learn to speak, and fifty to learn to be silent” – how true this is…
Sometimes we are convinced that at all costs we have to provide „golden advice” to our interlocutors and moralize. No, we do not!
3. Stop our egocentrism
How many times do we start with „I” and „Me”? How many times do we make the conversation about us even when it was not intended to be?
Understanding that it’s not just about us develops our respect towards our interlocutors.
4. Do not be prejudiced
Let us not judge the person who is talking to us, do not underestimate inaccurate reasoning or an imprecise argument from our interlocutor. Listening is not about judging and criticizing.
5. Do not use artificial feedback
We have heard many times that we should nod, paraphrase, maintain eye contact and repeat „I see” but let’s avoid the artificial beat of „uh huh – uh huh” and insincere assurances – this is not the way to be a good listener!
6. Put away all tools of distraction
Having one eye on a phone will not make us good listeners! Do not disregard your interlocutor. This rule is a simple one…
Good listening is a choice, let’s avoid having fluff in our ear…
We can start by listening to the following story:
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