God gave us mouths that close, and ears that don’t. That must tell us something.
In today’s high speed, high tech and high stress world – communication is vital. Yet we seem to spend less time really listening to one another.
In fact we spend most of our lives running patterns, creating static, getting caught up in outdated memories, and generally adding to the noise levels.
And guess what? The more noise prevailing, the more we add to it by spinning our wheels even faster and creating distraction overload.
Maybe it’s time for a change of tactic?
Start to notice how people behave, how they seem as if they’re listening but actually they’re doing something else. You’ll soon see some patterns emerging.
Next time you‘re having a conversation, check out which of the 10 types you’re talking to:
The Personality Types
The Mind Readers
– they’re the ones projecting what they think you’re going to say next, so they can interrupt and finish your sentence off.
– they’re rehearsing and getting ready to interrupt so they can hog the centre stage and get all the attention back on them.
The Sound Editors
– they screen out anything they don’t want to hear so they don’t have to listen to the real message. They prefer mood manipulation designed to captivate the audience.
– they just want to give advice, take charge and prove they’re in control. CUT.
– they’ve been trained in the school of active listening. They lean forward, make eye contact, grunt, say ‘’ah-ah” and paraphrase every 30 seconds or so.
– aka “the zoo inmates”, they also could have been trained in the school of active listening, the only difference is they can’t be readily taught to paraphrase.
The Studio Boss
– they’re monitoring the competition, focusing on the next brilliant idea and the next great solution to get in motion before completing the task in hand. They’ve already left and moved on.
The Shape Shifters
– these are the ones who are preoccupied with past memories, they weren’t paying attention and drifted onto the wrong set and got cast in the Twighlight Zone instead of Downton Abbey.
The Movie Stars
– they pretend to be interested , asking lots of questions and so forth, but really it’s just a ploy to get all the attention right back where it belongs-with them.
– they’re busy trying to figure out your every need so they can save you ultimately from yourself. In their world it’s a script after all in which improvisation plays no part. According to them you’re not supposed to be having your own experience and figuring it out for yourself. They are the Super Powers who know everything.
Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move towards. When we are listened to it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.
– Dr Karl A Menninger
An actor‘s a guy who if you ain’t talking about him, ain’t listening.
– Marlon Brando
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
– Winston Churchill
Improve your Listening
Profound listening creates connection with others, one of the most common human needs is to understand and to be understood. Fully engaged listening cuts down on conflict, misunderstanding and creates more harmony. By becoming silent when another person is speaking you create the space for them to be as they are, and when you let them do that they become powerful.
Here are some simple tips to improve your listening skills:
Give them your complete attention
No having a sneaky peek at your mobile phone, no glancing out of the window, or checking your watch….focus. Notice any tendency to imagine what they’re going to say next. Resist. Bring yourself back to the words being spoken. Follow the script even though you may have no part in it. Stay quiet. Simply let it be.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around” – Leo Buscaglia
Resist the temptation to interrupt.
Take a deep breath. Hit the pause button. According to the Auto-cue it’s not your line, it’s theirs.
Don’t wade in to the rescue
Remember they’re not really drowning, it’s just play acting. Don’t interfere in someone else’s journey. Don’t get sucked into their dramas. Only get involved if you’re invited and even then remain a little detached. Stay behind the camera lens and hold your focus. Steady.
Leave that to Day time TV. Don’t play detective, there are already plenty of would be Sherlock’s out there.
No gate crashing someone else’s party. Rather than having some solution arbitrarily imposed they may just want to offload, be heard and get it off their chest. And that’s fine, as long as it’s in moderation. You don’t have to engage with unrelenting negativity. If that happens and it’s not the first time then it’s okay to remove yourself from the situation and go off to re-charge your batteries.
Create a WIN:WIN interaction
Aim to trust what the other person is saying is exactly what they mean. No more, no less. No hidden clues for you to follow. Listen deeply and make it a high value exchange and people will gravitate towards you.
For those of you who feel inspired to further explore how great listening can improve your relationships with friends, family and at work, try searching “listening quotes”, find a few that resonate with you and pin them to your notice board.
For more free reading on the subject go to Resources, and to learn powerful ways of engaging with your intuition go to Inner Voice.
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