In the past a few people told me that I am a good listener. But as you will read shortly, I may not be that good a listener, especially when the speaker is myself. In this post I will reflect on things I tend to do while listening to others. Then I will check whether I do those things when listening to myself.
When I’m listening to others I tend to do the following things.
1. Paying attention to what’s being said
Maintaining a good eye contact helps me focus on the speaker and what’s being said. On the contrary, if I am distracted by other things or thinking about something else, I’m most likely to miss the words spoken. I guess whether the speaker can feel comfortable talking with me partly depends on whether paying attention to him or her as well.
2. Suspending judgments
I know that I know a thing or two. Sometimes I feel I can make some useful comments. Or perhaps what the speaker is saying sounds so outrageous to me that I might feel the urge to cut in by saying something. But here’s a question: Do I have enough information to make judgments and/or does the speaker have more to say in addition to what he or she said? If the answer is No for either of these questions, then I’d rather keep listening to the speaker.
3. Trying to understand what’s being said
It is reasonable to assume that I and the speaker share some common ground that makes it possible for us to communicate with one another. But that doesn’t mean we can understand each other completely. Sometimes it’s possible that I and the speaker use certain terms differently. If I sense that possibility, I ask the speaker for clarification. This way, I can understand better what the speaker is trying to convey.
4. Waiting for the speaker to finish
Sometimes I do interrupt the speaker to ask for clarification, but I generally avoid it. Even when I need to interrupt, I guess I tend to let the speaker finish the sentence he or she is uttering at that moment before asking a question or making a comment.
5. Being helpful towards the speaker by being curious about what’s being said
In other words, I let the speaker know that I want to listen more–by asking questions or by directly telling about my intention. I tend to ask open questions that are related to the speaker and what the speaker said. This, I think, will make it easier for the speaker to talk about what he or she wants to talk about.
What do you do when you listen to others? How about those who you consider as good listeners? What do they do?
Now, here’s something I want to ask myself–when I listen to myself, do I practice those things I do with others? Actually, do I listen to myself at all?
Do I pay attention to what my inner self is saying? Do I avoid making quick judgments against myself? Do I try to understand myself better? Am I patient in listening to myself? Do I let my inner self speak more by being curious about his words?
I will work on the art of listening to myself so I can answer these questions positively. Let’s see what happens…
As I wrote the questions above, by the way, I had the following thought. “But do you really think this post is worthy? Don’t you think it’s rubbish?”
I’m not going to argue against such an inner voice. I will just write, edit and post. What I have written here is something I wanted to share with you, how trivial this piece may be. Now I’m sharing it with you and that’s all good.