Two ears and one mouth and yet we perpetually feel the need to talk more than we listen.
Chatter, chatter, chatter. Is it possible I’m the only one with something interesting or riveting to add to the conversation? Unlikely.
We all have “that” friend. The one that downloads a world of detail in a rapid stream and neglects to even ask how you are. At the end, you wonder if your news if really that important after all. Then you realise you have been guilty of this also.
When we really listen it’s amazing what we learn. Listening with our ears is one thing but watching the body language, gestures, eyes and flinches can be really telling.
I know parents that learn more listening to their kids in the backseat talking to each other on rides to and from drop-offs than any direct question would ever offer.
How’s your day been? Mmmm, really “interesting”. Listen closely and that “interesting” has many levels of meaning that could be explored further.
Do you think you are making progress? Oh, “sort-of”. Well, that may need a bit of extra digging to determine how the progress is or is not going.
Are you actually being attentive and keeping an open mind when listening?
Are you constantly interrupting and interjecting your immediate solutions? Hold back on your go-to fix-it mode. Stop and just listen.
Maintain eye contact (unless you are driving of course). Everybody wants to feel they are being truly listened to. If you’re tempted to check your phone, send a quick text or “like” a post….don’t.
In a world where multi-tasking is revered, it is an art to do just one thing and do it well. Spend a minute today actively listening. You never know what you might learn.
Just a minute now.