Monday, June 15, 2020

The Importance Of Active Listening To Others

Do you find yourself misunderstanding what your spouse or work colleague says to you? Do you find yourself questioning your responses to them? Most people hear others speaking to them, but most of the time our interactions are not focused and we may listen to other people speak without truly hearing what they want to say to us.

Learning how to listen is a skill that helps us to clear our minds of thoughts and behaviors that may interrupt our ability to hear what the other person is trying to say, rather than what we think what they are saying.

Learning how to listen to people around us is also a journey of self-discovery. Instead of responding to people’s comments and thoughts as a reaction, we take the time to understand what they are saying and in thinking about how their words are impacting us. By doing this, we are identifying the natural way to react to people’s words and think about how we would prefer to react to them.

We can then develop and practice self-control techniques, to assist us to respond more appropriately to anything people may say to us.

Professor Felice Leonardo "Leo" Buscaglia, also known as "Dr, love", the author of the book: Born for Love: Reflections on Loving, once was quoted as saying, "Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."

You may have heard active listening referred to as reflective listening. It involves listening to others around us talk to us and taking time out to ensure that we understand their words and the meanings behind those words. We ask questions like “So you mean this.” to reflect back to the person what we think they have said. We use words like “I feel angry when you say that” rather than lashing out in anger and using a “you” phrase like “you always do this.”

Our focus is not on the words spoken but on the person speaking and what they meant by their words. This way of listening can take some getting used to, but once we learn this skill will change the way we relate to people and interact with them, and learn about ourselves in the process.

If you sometimes feel misunderstood when you are talking to people, you probably have an understanding of the importance of really being heard and not just listened to. As we begin to practice active listening, you will soon learn the phrases and body language that you personally find difficult to deal with. You will develop important techniques and qualities that enable you to remain in control of your thoughts and emotions when having discussions with others.

“To those who listen to my teaching, 
more understanding will be given, 
and they will have an abundance of knowledge. 
But for those who are not listening, 
even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That's why I use these parables, 
‘For they look, but they don't really see. 
They hear, but they don't really listen or understand. “ 
Matthew 13:12-13, NLT.

Let's Look On The Application Of Active Listening       

Most people approach differences of opinions with other people attempting to defend their point of view. Our intention may be to defend our personal position, but most people view our defensive stance as attacking their viewpoint. It can create confrontation and easily leads to interpersonal issues with the other person. This approach to conflict resolution creates many avoidable arguments in the workplace and at home. Yes, you've to listen to other's viewpoints but always stick to the fact.

So how can we present our point of view without creating this reaction in people? The key is to learn to see the situation from the other’s viewpoint and address it from within their viewpoint as well as from our own. And to grasp their viewpoint correctly, you must apply active listening. Yes, we can still express our thoughts and feelings about a situation using this approach, but it usually produces a very different outcome.

This technique is an excellent way to approach all communication, whether with family, friends, work colleagues, or strangers. We learn to express our thoughts, concerns, and ideas and even disagree with others but acknowledge verbally and through our body language, that the other person has the right to their opinions and thoughts about the issue causing the disagreement.

Don't tell people that they're wrong when arguing for something, but express a factual argument that will pinpoint the other person's wrongdoing. Show to them their faulty thinking by analyzing the facts by starting with their viewpoints, and logically deduce the argument to your conclusion. Be ready to accept the valid conclusion even if it favors their viewpoints. 

This approach maintains a relationship between two people that acknowledges that no one position is more valid than another’s views, perspectives, or thoughts. This does not mean that both ideas are equally valid but conveys the understanding that the other person has a right to the thoughts or opinions about the situation causing the disagreement. This approach values the relationship and validates the person, whilst not necessarily validating the problem or the suggested solution.

There is an old saying that states, “you will never know another person until you first walk in their shoes.” Trying to approach and diffuse a situation from their perspective enables us to walk in their shoes in the situation. It changes the “I want” statements, which presents the issue from our perspective to the “I know you feel this way and can understand why you do, but may I present another idea or show you why that idea is not the best one.”

As we learn and apply this technique in our lives, it becomes obvious we have gained insight into an extremely important life lesson that validates and maintains relationships, even if we don’t agree with the other person. It helps us to approach potential life challenges in a non-confrontational way that promotes discussion and resolution in our dealing with others.

Here's is a video by William Ury, author of the book: Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. Here he gives a TEDx talk on the power of listening.



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​​Text Wisdom's mission is to provide an entertaining but faithful and objective exploration of the wisdom behind some popular text speeches like: "Less is more", or "Wisdom is better than strength" and "The pen is mightier than the sword" and so forth. We've committed ourselves to do that so that the readers of our site can appreciate and learn why they should become wise and be transformed to live their lives in all fullness. We strongly believe that wisdom, once gained, can help anyone attain any level of success in any situation. In an actual sense, we strive to live up to the Golden Rule that says: Do to others as you would like them to do to you. Similarly, the idea of what we try to accomplish is well-expressed in this biblical quote: “Be instructed, whatever be the cost, and you’ll gain what is better than gold.” Sirach 51:28, (New Community Bible). LM Edward is a university graduate with a keen interest in working hard to finding out a universal step-by-step method, if any, on how to become wise, and then share those findings to our curious worldwide visitors.

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