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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Good Listeners Are Hard to Find

Listen, Please Listen

Has anybody said to you, "Please listen to me!"? How about, "You never listen to me!"? Do you stop listening sometimes after the first two or three words because you think you know what the speaker is going to say? Perhaps you feel frustrated because that seems to happen often and you don't feel heard. Listening is a skill. People who take the time to learn to listen better enrich their soul mate relationships. Listening the Forgotten Skill, an excellent book by Madelyn Burley-Allen gives help for serious learners. Some of the questions she suggests the listener keep in mind:

     What is the speaker's intent?

     Am I listening actively, formulating my meaning and then checking back with the speaker to see if my meaning is his or her meaning?

     What information does the speaker want me to have?

     What assumptions and conclusions am I reaching?

     Am I resisting the feedback clues because I don't want to deal with the situation? If so, what can I do about it?

     Am I sizing up the speaker? How is this affecting my interpretation of the message?

     What barriers might be at work distorting the message?

     What questions could I ask to verify my understanding and minimize the effect of barriers?

     What information is not being provided?

This book was a big help to me. Years ago I lent it to a client and never got it back. I hope it has helped him as much as it helped me.

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