Hearing and listening are two different actions. At the end of day we heard a lot of things, but we have listened only a few. When we feel we do not pay too much attention, we capture just the sequence of sounds that occurs around us. Instead when we listen, our complete attention is directed to a sound or to a specific message, that there is an intentionality of the bottom and our senses are all focused on the information we are receiving.
Sometimes it’s difficult to listen to others and sooner than we expect, we switch from listening to hear, thinking about an answer for when the other has finished speaking. All of this, without paying the smallest attention to what the other person says. The dialogue is blocked because of verbal incontinence. Communication is important, we all know that. But often, the emphasis is on the ability to speak instead of the effective use of the words. Much has been written on how to become good communicators and how to use the dialectic, but there is one thing that is more important than the word itself: to listen.
Conversations are made between two people at least: one of them talks to send a message, the other one receives it by listening to it. Being able to really doing that is, therefore, a vital part of the conversation. It’s actually a form of art, that we can learn and improve with time and practice. Listening doesn’t mean to stay quiet and wait for our turn to speak, and not even to stay silent and nod. It means to be actively receptive and understand the other person’s needs, to try to enter in the other person’s world, even if we don’t agree with him/her.
How can we solve a conflict if we deny our emotions? Our emotions are what moves us towards or far from what it’s important to us. Everyone has them, refusing them means that we miss a vital part of our relationships. When someone is sharing his/her emotions, positive or negative ones, it’s vital to be able to recognize them, even if we don’t understand them. Did you ever say to someone “you don’t have to be angry” or “calm down”? It ever worked? Emotions are not logical, they are psychological, meaning that we have to respect them even if we don’t understand them. How do to that? Here’s some tips and tricks to learn:
1. Give the 100%
To be a good listener you have to give your full attention to the person you’re talking to, leaving all the problems aside, relax and find your inner peace that allows you to really listen and let in everything that it’s been said.
2. Understand the signals
It’s important to see too: the other person might give you signals with her/his body, its voice, the eyes. Don’t stop at the first layer of the communication, it’s possible that the one in front of you may be nervous, or can’t express him/herself properly. Maybe he/she’s also fighting a lot of emotions!
3. It’s not a competition
While we are listening we often think already about how to respond. This is not a competition to see who is right, you do not win anything, actually you have everything to lose. If you do not handle well the conversation you risk misunderstandings and this leads to unnecessary fights. Do not listen to respond, listening to help, to understand, to learn and to grow together.
Listening is something you can learn, day after day, that enriches ourselves inwardly and outwardly we see in our demonstrations and in our behavior. It’s a gesture that shows maturity and security. How did you learn to listen others?