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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.

@brielle49

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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.

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.

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.

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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RELATED IDEAS

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 professional settings (counseling, training, therapy) but is also valuable for everyday life.

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IDEAS

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.
5 Roadblocks To Listening
  1. Disinterest in connecting.
  2. Long-talkers and explainers who never get to the point!
  3. Knowledge. Talkers know.
  4. Distraction by what’s next.
  5. Multi-tasking.