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Listening is an Art

Updated on December 3, 2015

Look People in the Eye When Having a Conversation

Looking you in the eyes and listening intently
Looking you in the eyes and listening intently | Source

Listen

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Listening is an Art That Needs to be Learned

What I find aggravating is how rarely people actually listen during a conversation. How often have you had an argument with a family member, spouse or friend over a misunderstanding? Most people do not really listen to every word being said, they listen to keywords and fill in the blanks.

Misunderstandings occur when one or both parties do not listen.

Teaching the Art of Listening at the Developmental Stages in Life.

People do not listen because they are not trained to listen. When you are a child the first thing your parents want to teach you is how to talk, there is a whole lot of excitement about speaking, oh look my baby said his first word, look he or she is talking at such a young age. But is talking really communicating. Children listen when they are young, that is how they learn, then very fast they are taught not to listen. You are probably thinking that is not true, no one teaches a child not to listen.

But actually we do. We teach our children not to listen by example. If we do not practice the art of listening, our children do not learn it. Having a child listen to your rules and understanding the reasoning behind why you implemented those rules, are two very different things. Its the difference behind blind obedience and communication between two parties. Explain why something should not be done, then ask your child if he understands, really listen to your childs response. Children have different priorities and what is important to you is not always important to your child. Personal safety, education, government laws are low priority for a child. So listen to what your child thinks is important. When children see you are really listening, they in turn will listen to what you have to say.

Listen to Your Spouse.

A long term relationship is only possible, if there is a mutual respect between two parties, and the greatest form of respect you can give your spouse, is to always listen to them and try to understand their point of view. Whether you agree or not, keep an open mind and really listen. Do not prejudge, as so often happens in a long term relationship. People tend to think I know my spouse well, I know what they like, I know their opinions of things. this is very often not true, people do change, their ideas, their preferences, and their goals in life. Its usually a very subtle slow change that goes unnoticed by their loved ones. listening to your spouse will help you understand them better as they evolve into what they want to become.

Listen Carefully

Now hear this
Now hear this | Source

Do Friends Come to You For Advice

Friends come and go, a good friend you will have for life, but this will only happen if you both communicate. With so many different forms of communication in the world today, staying in touch with friends is easy. But how many close friends do we really have in our lives, Someone we can tell our problems to, who really listens to us when we need someone to talk to. How many friends have come to you for advice or a shoulder to lean on? If you find a lot of people have come to you for advice or to be consoled, then you are probably a good listener.

Tips to Improve Your Listening Skills

  • To really listen to what a person is saying we must respect that person and their opinions. We must want to really understand what ideas that person is trying to get across to us.
  • Try to look at things from the speakers point of view, if you agree or not, is not important, understanding is your goal.
  • Maintain eye contact, a persons words are reflected in their eyes.
  • Always let them finish their narrative, if you do interrupt, do so only for clarification.
  • Ask questions pertinent to the subject matter. So the speaker elaborates.
  • Listen more then you talk, a few relevant words to a conversation makes more of an impact then hours of irrelevant chatter.
  • Most important of all we must listen with an open mind. When a person says or thinks ( I know what you are going to say ) they have a preconceived notion of what they think you are going to say. In reality, unless they are telepathic, they have no idea whats going through your mind. Once they think they do, they are not really listening.

No one knows a person well enough to predict what is going to be said, once a person says I know what you are going to say, it is a sign of ignorance, arrogance or both.

Psychology and Listening

The most important skill a psychologist acquires is the art of listening without prejudice. When a person goes to a psychologist and unburdens themselves, they are assured that he will listen to every word they say. Psychologists have mastered the art of listening.

© 2013 ketage

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