By Michelle Porchia
We are taught to talk. We are not taught to listen. When we think we are listening, we are really thinking about how we are going to respond. What has always been a puzzle for me is what is a person responding to if they are not listening to what the other person is saying? Usually they either think they know what the person is going to say or they think they’ve heard “enough” to reply. This can be the start of misunderstanding, miscommunication, and possibly the start of conflict. How many times have you said to someone “that’s not what I said.” Often it is what the person “heard” or thought they heard.
There are a few popular talk show hosts that either interrupt their guests while they are speaking, answer the question they have just asked them or lead them on. (“Don’t you agree that…” What if the guest doesn’t agree?) Don’t get me wrong, I have much respect for all the hosts. However, it is very irritating when the host asks an expert a question and then proceeds to answer it himself. One popular talk show I found increasingly difficult to watch because the hosts all talked at the same time and you couldn’t really hear the discussion and/or the answers. When some of the hosts were replaced, the new hosts had a little more respect for each other and would let the others finish their statements. They actually started taking turns. The point: Listen to the other person. If you ask them a question, allow them to answer the question. One person speaks at a time.
Five Steps to Becoming a Better Listener:
Moving forward, let’s be mindful of our listening. Let’s listen to hear and to understand.
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” ~Stephen Covey
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