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It's time to tune in: why listening is the real key to communication

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/jan/25/its-time-to-tune-in-why-listening-is-the-real-key-to-communication

theguardian.com

It's time to tune in: why listening is the real key to communication
When people find out I'm a journalist, they typically tell me they used to write for their school newspaper or that their child wants to be a journalist, or that their cousin is a blogger. Or they might say they loved a film about a newsroom, but can't remember the name.

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We Live In The Age of Speaking

We Live In The Age of Speaking

The image one has of success and glory is someone speaking on a stage, holding a microphone. Schools have courses in communication, how to speak perfectly, and how to debate well, while social media is providing us means to express ourselves in countless ways.

Modern life is discouraging listening, with loud noise in offices and even coffee shops, and the traffic noise in the streets making us lose our listening ability even more.

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The Lost Art of Listening

It is by listening that human beings are able to connect, co-operate, comprehend, empathize, understand and develop themselves.

Listening is fundamental to any meaningful relationship, whether it is personal, professional or political.

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People Resist Listening

Meeting others face-to-face, or even talking over the phone is increasingly unpleasant and intrusive, with text messages and emoji being preferred.

Lack of listening is fuelling the rise of loneliness, which is linked to heart disease, stroke, and even premature death.

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You're Not Listening

Listening isn't about keeping quiet and holding your replies until someone has stopped speaking. True listening is about:

  • How much you understand the other person's thoughts.
  • How you respond.
  • Your mind being clear of presumptions/assumptions while listening.
  • An openness and willingness to follow the teller's story.

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The Right Questions

Asking the right questions, the ones about the speaker's interests, and not intrusive or self-promoting, is the key to having a good conversation.

Having a fulfilling conversation bridges differences and makes you find common ground with people with a different and conflicting political stance or ideological position.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Active listening

Is a technique for developing our ability to listen, to make a conscious effort to understand what people are really saying.

As a communication technique, it is used in many prof...

Core components of Active Listening

  • Comprehending: To communicate, we must first understand what the other person (or people) are actually saying.
  • Retaining: To respond in an appropriate manner, we must understand and retain what the other person has said.
  • Responding: An active response should show that we understand what the other person has said, have paid attention to their words and also read their non-verbal cues.

Improving Active Listening skills

  • Educate yourself on common cognitive biases and shortcuts;
  • Avoid trying to respond immediately. Allow the other person time to finish speaking, then provide a considered response;
  • Minimize conversational narcissism by keeping track of your use of pronouns(I, me);
  • Seek to develop a clear picture of the other person’s logic;

Listening requires mental work

We mistake listening as easy because it looks passive and instinctive, but in reality it’s hard work. Really listening (and not just appearing to listen) re...

Mistakes we make in conversations

Our general tendency is to:
  • Evaluate: We judge what someone is saying and agree or disagree.
  • Probe: We ask questions from our own frame of reference.
  • Advise: We give counsel, advice, and solutions to problems.
  • Interpret: We analyze others' motives and behaviors based on our own experiences.

What makes a great listener

  • Asking great questions;
  • Playing attention to the nonverbal communication;
  • Forgoing taking detailed notes to pay better attention;
  • Listening with the intent to understand, not the intent to respond;
  • Making people feel heard;
  • Following up on what matters.

Closeness-communication bias

Once you know people well enough to feel close, there is a tendency to not listen carefully to them, because you think you already know what they are going to say.

In a state of constant change

The sum of our daily interactions and activities continually affects us, so that we are not the same as we were the week before or even yesterday.

To accurately understand another person, we have to ask ourselves if this is really what the other person meant, and then to check it.

Trusting less familiar people

The closeness-communication bias can also keep us from allowing our loved ones to listen to us.

Its human nature to become complacent about the familiar. People will rather confide their most pressing and worrisome concerns to less familiar people because others are more likely to listen carefully, may ask the right questions and are less judging or apt to interrupt.

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