The Art of listening

Listening is an art, or at very least, an art form.  Most of us are sure we are very good at listening to others, but we don’t really hear them.  As an experienced public speaker I am often astounded after my talks by what others tell me they heard.  Many times I am told how wonderful my remarks about a topic were.  The problem is, I never spoke those words!  As individuals we hear what we want to hear, or what we need to hear.  Our higher self often uses the words of others to deliver an important message in a way we can understand.

Barriers to actually hearing others.

Spouses, or people in a committed relationship often simply roll their eyes when the other speaks.  They hear words coming their way but the words don’t make any sense.  The other person seems to have begun a statement somewhere in the middle.   This is not an illusion.  You are not going crazy either.  For instance, my beautiful bride will often be thinking something through when I walk by.  When she sees me her words begin with the thought in progress.  I am left to either figure out the first, unspoken, words in the sentence, or adopt a blank stare.  

Another barrier to actually hearing others occurs when we are deep in thought.  Another person begins speaking but our mind does not track on the words because they are out of context.  Our mind tries to combine our current thoughts with the new input.  Sometimes we recognize what is happening and catch up with the conversation.  Sometimes we do not realize this has happened.  What we take away from the conversation has little to do with a true exchange of thought.

Equip yourself to listen.

There are, of course, ways to equip yourself to minimize this mental cross-talk.  One of them is to read my book Bear and Butterfly.  In this book we examine how different people speak and the reasons behind that speaking style.  No matter which end of the conversation you are on, learning to listen is essential.  Click on the cover below to read a sample of Bear and Butterfly, then order yourself a copy.  Better yet, also get a copy for that special someone who doesn’t seem to listen.