The above video examples what life is like for some–too little time for listening. But that’s not true–we do have time–we just fill it with activity which leaves us with no time to listen to others, reflect, or listen to God.
I’d love to see this all change for the person caught up in this scenario and it can–it really can. You can slow down, learn to listen to others, spend more time reflecting and listening to what God is saying to you about your life and the lives of those around you.
I am covering lots of truth here about improving our listening skills. It is resource rich so use it as a reference. Here I go!
Lolly Daskal has some really good thoughts on listening. “The art of listening is through silence.”
The essence of listening in silence:
Do not judge
Do not question
Do not fix
Silence is the source of acknowledgement.
Silence is the presence of appreciation.
Silence is the genesis of connecting one with another.
Now this little creative fountain is in us all. It is the spirit, or the intelligence, or the imagination – whatever you want to call it. If you are very tired, strained, have no solitude, run too many errands, talk to too many people, drink too many cocktails, this little fountain is muddied over and covered with a lot of debris. The result is you stop living from the center, the creative fountain, and you live from the periphery, from externals. That is, you go along on mere willpower without imagination.
It is when people really listen to us, with quiet, fascinated attention, that the little fountain begins to work again, to accelerate in the most surprising way.
Recently, a man I had not seen for 20 years wrote me. He was an unusually forceful man and had made a great deal of money. But he had lost his ability to listen. He talked rapidly and told wonderful stories and it was just fascinating to hear them. But when I spoke – restlessness: “Just hand me that, will you? … Where is my pipe?” It was just a habit. He read countless books and was eager to take in ideas, but he just could not listen to people.
Well, this is what I did. I was more patient – I did not resist his non-listening talk as I did my father’s. I listened and listened to him, not once pressing against him, even in thought, with my own self-assertion.
I said to myself: “He has been under a driving pressure for years. His family has grown to resist his talk. But now, by listening, I will pull it all out of him. He must talk freely and on and on. When he has been really listened to enough, he will grow tranquil. He will begin to want to hear me.”
And he did, after a few days. He began asking me questions. And presently I was saying gently:
“You see, it has become hard for you to listen.”
He stopped dead and stared at me. And it was because I had listened with such complete, absorbed, uncritical sympathy, without one flaw of boredom or impatience, that he now believed and trusted me, although he did not know this.
“Now talk,” he said. “Tell me about that. Tell me all about that.”
Ed Brodow has some great listening tips:
Here are some suggestions for developing your listening skills:
- Develop the desire to listen. You must accept the fact that listening to others is your strongest weapon. Given the opportunity, the other person will tell you everything you need to know. If this doesn’t create desire, I don’t know what will.
- Always let the other person do most of the talking.This is a simple matter of mathematics. I suggest a 70/30 rule. You listen 70% of the time and you talk 30% of the time.
- Don’t interrupt. There is always the temptation to interrupt so you can tell the other person something you think is vitally important. It isn’t, so don’t. When you are about to speak, ask yourself if it is really necessary.
- Learn active listening. It’s not enough that you’re listening to someone – you want to be sure that they know you’re listening. Active listening is the art of communicating to the other person that you’re hearing their every word.
- Ask for clarification if needed. This will clear up any misunderstanding you have.
- Get used to ‘listening’ for nonverbal messages – body language. The other person may be communicating with you via body language. You need to decode the message.
- Ask a question…then shut up. This is a foolproof way to listen. Think of yourself as an interviewer – Barbara Walters! She listens and questions – so should you.
Once you have learned how to keep yourself from speaking, the art of asking questions is the shortcut to effective listening. Here are some tips for asking questions:
- Ask open-ended questions. Questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. “How could we do this?” “What do you think?” Your objective is to get them to talk as much as possible.
- Don’t ask questions that put them on the defensive. For example, “Why?” is intimidating. Don’t ask “why?” Ask “how come?”
- Ask “What if?” What if we did it this way?
- Ask for their advice. “What would you suggest we do to resolve this?” Everyone loves to be asked for advice.
- Offer alternatives. “Which way would you prefer?” This demonstrates your respect for the other person.
- Ask about their feelings. “How do you feel about this?” People love to have their feelings validated.
- Repeat back what they said. “Let me be sure I understand what you’re saying. You’re saying that…?” This technique will prevent misunderstandings and convince them that you really are listening.
We should all know this: that listening, not talking,
is the gifted and great role, and the imaginative role.
And the true listener is much more beloved, magnetic
than the talker, and he is more effective and learns more and
does more good.–Brenda Ueland
- The Art of Listening (Lolly Daskal)
- The Art of Listening (Brenda Ueland)
- The Forgotten Art (Ed Brodow)
- Value of Listening
- Listen from Your Heart
- How to Listen When Someone is Upset