Did you know that there is an art to listening?? Well, there is. So very often, you can be having a conversation with someone, and although you may not realize it, you are not really present. Oh yes… you are present in the physical a sense, but your mind is elsewhere. Listening requires you to be completely present in every sense. If you are on your mobile device, or thinking about something you need to take care of then you are not fully present. If your thoughts are drifting elsewhere, although you may think you are listening, you are not hearing what’s being said. You may be hearing the words, but losing the message. That’s the difference between listening and hearing. You must give your full attention in order to listen effectively. This is the only way to hear what is being said, and to understand what you are hearing.
There is so much information that can be lost or misinterpreted when you are not really listening. Feelings and emotions can get lost. Thoughts and beliefs can be misunderstood. Not to mention important facts that may be missed. Failing to recognize what is most important to the person speaking can cause wires to get crossed, which can lead to hurt feelings, tension and frustrations with both the speaker and you the listener. So goes the relationship, be it friend, family, or business.
We all want to be heard. So next time you indulge in a conversation with someone, make sure you are fully present, ready to listen and hear what the other person has to say. Communicating back will let the speaker know what they have to say is important, and you care enough to listen. This type of active listening will resonate back to you and enhance communications, with clarity for both parties.
Listening invites our presence to attention. It creates a partnership by which we converse.