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Implementing the skill of listening

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Have you ever met someone who seems to enjoy talking just for the joy of hearing themselves speak? They go on and on and don’t seem to need a response, or allow time for one. It is as though they are filling the space around themselves with their own words. Time goes by and you find yourself wanting to get away from them. Perhaps this person just never learned good conversational skills which are based on listening. Everyone wants an opportunity to have their say and to be validated.

Listen! Listen! Listen! You have two ears and one mouth; talk half as much as you listen. Don’t make others feel they are competing with you for “airtime” in a conversation. My father used to say,” You can only learn while you are quiet and aren’t the one who is talking.” Have you heard the old saying, “Keep your ears open and your mouth shut?”

It seems a little harsh, yet it does hold truth. If you are so involved in talking and thinking about what you are going to say, you can’t really enjoy the conversation. If you are self-involved, you aren’t actually having a conversation, you are just in a monolog. Although this may entertain you, the performance doesn’t usually create enjoyment for others or impress them as you had hoped.

The way to impress others is to avoid trying to do this very thing. Just be yourself. Talk about things that interest the other person and encourage them to give their input. Everyone has a basic need to be heard and to be appreciated. You can help fill this need by listening to what they are saying and by really caring. Encourage conversations that have some depth and meaning.

Chattering all the time can stem from a nervous insecurity or simply from the habit of continually filling the silence with sound. Perhaps this constant talker feels it is their job to lead the conversation and they do not realize they are actually dominating the encounter.

If this is a business situation, you can talk your way out of a sale or drive away a new customer because they can’t imagine how to deal with your ability to waste their time. They just don’t want to take you on. Unless your prices are extremely appealing, they won’t start a relationship with such an annoying influence in their day. Perhaps this new person you are meeting is someone you want to get to know socially or to date. The best way to endear them is to listen to their interests.

Then you can decide if this is someone you have something in common with and want to get to know. If you decide you want to spend more time with the person, then talk about the things that are important to you so that you are sharing your authenticity. This means sharing the ”real you”, not the party person who wears a different hat to please each person and never really says anything worth hearing anyway.

The words we say are important! They create a lasting effect and memory pattern on those who are receiving them. The things we say are actually creating word imprints. The vibration of a word is either uplifting or depressing and negative. Do others feel better or worse after being around you for a while? Are you adding to their quality of life, or taking away from it by being in their presence.

The answer to this question will be a major factor in determining their desire to get to know you better. Good relationships aren’t based on a game of manipulation.

Respect is not based on trying to guide the other person into your way of thinking, but rather to truly listen to what they are thinking. When you give a person the gift of being heard, you will be building a quality relationship that can bring value into both of your lives.

Patrice Joy Masterson, MA is a Healthy Living Consultant. She offers personalized and group integrative programs at the Harmonizing Health Retreat in Bedford, KY. For more information call 937-631-5581 or go online to http://www.harmonizinghealthretreat.com.