Now Listen…REALLY LISTEN!!!
How many times do we find ourselves not listening to someone in conversation or someone that isn’t listening to us? I feel as a coach and a person that this is one of my greatest attributes. It’s being able to listen to a person and relate to what they are saying. I’d like to share with you the research I have done on listening, which I find very interesting.
The greatest gift you can give to someone is having the gift to truly listen and care. Dr. Tony Alessandra talks about his six-step model he calls CARESS when talking about listening.
Concentrate – A person cannot truly listen if they cannot hear. And they cannot hear if they don’t truly listen. A person must block out everything that is going on around them and CARE about what the other person is saying. For example, in a movie notice when a person is standing in the picture with scenery behind them. When the camera focuses in on the person, the scenery becomes blurry. That’s because the movie wants you as the viewer to really focus in on that person at that particular moment. Always remember the power of the eyes, wherever the eyes are looking the ears will listen.
Acknowledge – Let the person know that you are truly listening to them. Actually show that person you are listening to them and only them. The number one thing that people look for when holding a conversation is EYE CONTACT. We all find ourselves guilty of this. How many times has your parents or significant other tried to hold a conversation and you get zoned out watching the television or browsing the Internet? It can be very frustrating so the importance of EYE CONTACT is crucial.
Respond – This is where the relation between the other person comes into play. If the person finds themselves doing all the talking they will eventually feel discomfort and realize you as the listener is beginning to know too much and they know nothing about you. So as the listener participation and response is key to making the person feel comfortable and important. Responding helps in clarifying what was said, and possibly adding to what was said. For example, someone family member has passed away and they come to you wanting to talk. They say, “I can’t believe this happened to someone so close to me”. You respond, “I can see you’re very upset about the loss of (the family member).” This shows the person you are listening and opens things up for the person to vent and you to listen.
Exercising Emotional Control – A lot of things cause us emotionally not to listen. Let’s say you don’t like the person, that automatically causes you to put a negative spin on everything that they have to say or do. And if you like the person you put a positive spin on everything they say and do. It could even be fighting in a relationship, how many times do we find ourselves saying harsh things to one another before we actually start truly listening to what the other person has to say?
It could even be a word, phrase or even a subject, which causes you to stop listening. For example it could be politics, religion, sexist remarks, racial statements, or ethnic slurs. There are million of different things that can cause a person to stop and block a person out from what they are trying to get across in a conversation. The main thing is to try and understand why certain statements cause you not to listen and work through them, and exercise emotional control.
Sensing – This is paying to attention to the Non-Verbal aspects and paying attention to the vocals and visuals of the other person. Believe it or not this can cause someone to stop listening faster than anything else. So I want to give you a few examples of Non-Verbal Communication that I found from wanterfall.com:
First Impressions: Appearance and personal hygiene are two very important sources of non-verbal messages, especially at the time of the initial contact. Most people find it easier to relate to someone who is clean, reasonably well groomed, and dressed in a way, which does not elicit strong reactions. Minor health problems such as bad breath or unpleasant body odors can have a disproportionately large effect on a patient or client.
Distance: The distance between you and another person may affect the reception of directly transmitted information by the receiver’s inputs. For example, if you are too far apart, you may not be able to hear each other’s speech clearly. The other inputs can also be affected by distance, in similar ways.
Orientation: Distance is not the only aspect of the spatial relationship between people. For example, standing above a person who is sitting or lying down may interfere with recognition of facial and ocular expressions and gestures, and may also make the person feel at a disadvantage in various ways. Sitting in a low chair beside someone in a high bed creates a more or less opposite vertical displacement, with its own set of drawbacks.
Posture: The posture of the body is in some ways analogous to the expression of the face, and provides communicative output in a similar way. Sometimes, an unusual posture may be due to physical or mental illness, but usually it can be controlled consciously, with consequent improvement in communication.
Consider the following possible postures. Standing rigid and immobile; crouching, poised as if ready to escape; slumped in a chair waiting for backache to strike; squatting uncomfortably on the floor and wobbling precariously; or sitting comfortably in a position which allows both relaxation and balance.
Movements: Visual communicators probably notice movements more than other communicators do. However, tactile communicators may not be far behind, especially in cases where the movement suggests the possibility of contact, or perhaps evokes some aspect of bodily comfort. Auditory and verbal communicators are likely to pay least attention to movements (unless they have good visual or tactile communication skills as well).
Moving closer might suggest interest, concern, affection, aggression, deafness or many other things, depending partly on the context and partly on the receiver. Moving away might suggest a lack of interest in the conversation, an uncaring attitude, fear, dislike, shock, disapproval, considerately allowing the other person more space – or various other things.
Crossed arms might convey a superior attitude, a closed mind, disapproval, defensiveness, or perhaps just a comfortable position. Immobility might convey a lack of interest, falling asleep, or perhaps very close attention to the other person.
Touching one’s own face during a conversation is often taken to mean that one is either lying or withholding information. However, it could just as easily is an attempt to hide part of the face because of shyness. For that matter, it could be due to an itch, an attempt to stifle a sneeze (or a yawn) or perhaps just a self-conscious check on a previously noticed blemish.
Structure – This is paying attention to the verbal part of the communication. This is being able to give feed back to the person you are talking to. For example being able to give feedback on the topic, main points, sympathy points, priority, and sequence. It’s being able to take the topic being able to talk about it at the right time and moments in the conversation. This gives the person a good sense that you are truly listening.
There is a reason God gave us two ears, two eyes and one mouth, watch and listen more than you speak!!!!!!!! When you are not listening you are not learning. When you are not listening you are preventing opportunity. The fact that you do not listen reveals the reality that your mind is closed. When you are not listening you are preventing intelligence. When you are not listening there is nothing new, there are only your reactions. If you wish to live life to its fullest, then listening is vital