Author: Anders Christian Hjort
A good listener will never feel alone.
She will always attract other people due to the fact that many people miss a person to talk to – a person that takes time to listen.
It’s quite frustrating for the many that feel alone – no one take the time to stop and listen to their challenges or aspirations.
If they could just learn to listen themselves, then a lot of frustration would be gone.
Why is listening so difficult?
Firstly, You need that inner balance and calmness that I find not many people have.
Secondly, it takes time, time and time again.
During childhood some of us experienced our parents did not have much time to listen. We came home from school to an empty house – both mom and dad still at work. We got no opportunity to practice and hone our communication and listening skills stimulating our self confidence in a safe learning environment. No sharing of experiences and telling our passionate stories of the day. No sharing of the excitement from the fun with your friends at school. No one to share the disappointments or anger that hurt when a friend cheated on you. No one at the receiving end. And then our grandparents that would have loved to listen – often the better listeners – was not in the neighbourhood.
Instead we used our time to listen to music, watch television, game on our computers, and today our own kids are absorbed by their iPhones and iPads gaming, snap chating magnificent selfies – We did not get the same opportunity to tell and share, because who would listen? Today youngsters feed social media sites begging for a reaction and recognition that will satisfy their lonely souls.
Now that’s a good start to build your listening and verbal communication skills, isn’t it?
When we visit old people in public institutions we often get questions like: “Do you have time? I have so much to tell you.” But not many takes the time and listen for real. It’s a shame. The lack of time undermines the valuable and memorable moments and opportunities in life to grow a stronger relationship. The value of deeper and more meaningful conversations, being together, togetherness, feeling trusted, feeling safe to share, build and protect life long relationships
Also married couples listen less and less, lack of time and mental resource for one of the more interesting activities in life: just sitting together listening and feeling safe in the zone of silence.
What does it take to be a good listener?
First of all you really need to focus and put yourself in the shoes of the person in front of you. If it’s a personal conversation between the two of you, then close the door, shut of your phone and computer devices and set aside plenty of time to listen to what is being said – also between the lines. The one that talks should experience a totally safe environment feeling your respect and having 100% confidentiality. No gossip afterwards!
The listener will earn the trust by character and integrity being 100% present, leaving open space for silence and reflection, having an open and positive mindset and acting without prejudice.
Being good listener can be very challenging. Staying calm, controlling your own impatience and need to talk about yourself is a major challenge.
Conversations fail because the listener do not really listen with the intention to understand what’s being told, and do not ask clarifying and extending questions that makes the talking person reflect and develop his own thoughts further.
Instead the listener do not really listen, thoughts will be wandering elsewhere, waiting only for an opportunity to get back into the conversation telling about himself. The conversation ends up being two people giving a lot of information whilst sipping loads of coffee for no real reason – however no one received anything – no one learned anything – only loads of information being dumped. No room left for taking in, reflect or build on what was being said – no deeper relationship being build.
Then we say goodbye – share mutual pleasantries, hugs and kisses – having only revisited the surface of everything around our own selfishness – We both thought the other listened, however no one did – only two people talked and talked and talked.
Some people just seem to be born good listeners. For most of us it takes a lot of practice and time.
Doctors need to be a good listeners or they will end up making the wrong diagnosis.
Teachers needs to listen to their pupils – to meet them where they are – and then lift them up and inspire from here, if they are to be perceived a great teachers.
Sales Champions know that listening and asking question to uncover and develop the customers needs are core verbal skills to master – listening skills being the most important if you want to understand how you can help, create value and grow the relationship one step further.
Listening is all about understanding other people, their stories and life experience. The value you get is how the other person differs from you. I found that setting aside plenty of time to listen and learn from these differences is worth every hour or day spent.
It’s a challenging task to listen with empathy, however you will soon learn how it will enrich the outcomes of your conversations.
From my experience it’s a major WIN/win.
So why not try it out?
Long lasting friendships start and grow from here 💯
You’re not alone 😄