I’m sure some of you are old enough to remember those immortal words, whether you were by the radio for Listen with Mother or in front of the TV for Watch with Mother. Those few softly spoken lines caused children across the UK to sit still, relax and listen. I remember them well, as a very small child, beginning the 15 minute interlude of calm in the day when I sat with Mum, and a nice lady told me a story.
When I am really listening to someone, my mind is quite still. It’s absorbing what is being said and how it’s being said. My focus is 100% on the person doing the talking.
There is another scenario though, isn’t there. The one where you are hearing what’s being said, and working out how and when you can respond, whilst the other person is talking. Which means you aren’t listening.
Put yourself in the shoes of the person doing the talking, of noticing that you aren’t being listened to. How does that feel? I know I find it very frustrating when it happens to me and I usually just stop talking. And when I realise I have slipped into ‘hearing’ rather than ‘listening’ mode, I remind myself what it must be like for the person doing the talking, and adjust my behaviour.
Stephen R Covey wrote: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.”
Try to resist being part of the crowd and join the minority. Listen to understand.
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