Weekly Jewel: Listen more than speak
“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Epictetus (AD 55-135). One of the main problems in relationships is that we don’t really listen to each other. We are usually just waiting for the other person to stop talking so we can speak. We miss much of what they are saying because we are thinking about what we will say next. Through listening I discovered that sometimes that what I first thought about a person or situation was completely wrong. I started practicing listening skills at a very early age and I have learned to love to listen. I realize that through the practice of listening I have learned much about myself. It is amazing when you start to notice how many times you speak before the person you are listening to has actually finished their sentence.
A helpful listening tool is to practice repeating back to the person what he or she said. A great way to open that door is to say “Let me make sure I have heard you correctly; I think you said…”Now repeat what you think you heard. This technique will keep you present. And it will assure the other Person that you are listening. Another great practice to increase your listening skills is to fill a glass of water when you are ready to have a conversation with someone and put it in front of you. Ask whomever you are communicating with a question about themself and then be quiet. When the person has finished talking, take a sip of water and ask them another question. Do not talk about yourself until the glass is half empty. You may repeat back to them what you think you heard, and contribute any thought you might have for them keeping the focus off your self. Now the person feels adequately listened to and you have helped empty their mind, making room for what you have to say. I learned this technique many years ago and it is quite effective.What a gift it is to give your time and attention to another person. In our busy lives we rarely listen to each other.
Today practice the gift of listening!