The art of listening….
One of a humans greatest need is psychological survival, to be understood, affirmed, validated, and appreciated.
In other words, we need to be heard. It isn’t always easy, and we live in a busy world, and many of us spend our days in a time crunch.
But the experts agree, when we take time to listen we improve relationships, promote an atmosphere of cooperation and encourage creative thinking, and even save money by avoiding costly errors caused by miscommunication.
Active listening does not come naturally. Stephen Covey notes that when someone speaks, our initial reaction is to evaluate and scrutinize them… the opposite of what we should do.
Instead, we should focus on empathetic listening with the intent to understand and we must does this with the goal of helping…
There are four phases of empathetic listening, according to Covey…
- the first is to mimic content, repeating exactly what the speaker has said
- the second stage is to rephrase the content to what was said in our own words
- third, you may reflect feelings or make a non-judgmental statement about the speaker’s emotions, empathizing with what or how he feels
- the fourth stage is a combination of the second and third stages, to rephrase content and reflect feelings
Sometimes you don’t want to hear what’s being said, choosing to be annoyed instead of understanding the other person’s view… this only damages a relationship. We’d make a better choice of moving forward, forgiving the offense and the offender, and resolving the problem.
Listening must come from the hear. If it is not sincere it will show regardless of what you say… nonverbal gestures will expose true feelings. When this happens, make it a point to remain focused on what the speaker is saying, actively participating in and practicing the stages of empathetic listening… the art of listening lies in understanding that to be an effective father, leader, spouse, or any other role we must not only care about what others have to say, but also how they feel… just remember your kids need your full attention, your patience, and a listening ear… so listen well when they speak. It will make you an even better father than you already are …