Ever thought about the fact that the words listen and silent are spelt using the same letters?
Listening requires less than we might think but more than is easy to give.
How many of us listen? As oppose to wait for our turn to speak?
Listening – real listening, is not easy. It involves taking ourselves out of the equation and completely focusing on the listenee.
It involves being present. Multitasking is not appropriate here.
It involves dismissing the thought which has popped into our head until the listenee gives the signal. Even then we should still dismiss it unless entirely relevant. If our own agenda comes into play even an iota, we’re not listening.
What does the listenee need from a listener? Silence mostly. A good listener is not afraid of silence. But alongside this, true engagement. Eye contact is a must. Selected supportive noises. Body language. Facial expressions.
Above all they need us to truly hear. And that can’t be faked.
The listenee needs the listener to recognise the cues about when its time to respond. And the response, (if there is one) might be reframing what has just been said in order to further validate and show understanding. It might involve asking a question. It almost never involves a strong opinion.
Listening is the ultimate ‘less is more’ activity.
There is so much for us to hear, if we only listen.
A Tidy Mind