by Debbie Walker
Have you ever been involved in a conversation and realized you don’t really remember much of it?? It has happened to me. Sometimes I would be so engrossed in what my clients were saying…….at least that’s what I thought I was doing.
However, truthfully, I was hearing things they wanted and my head was actually in high gear trying to think of my answers to them.
I saw these words in something I was reading: “The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” Oh yeah, the light bulb came on and I saw that I fit right in the category of non-listener.
All that time I was listening to the comments I could help out with, evidently, I wasn’t hearing the whole story, only parts.
We started our holiday season already with Thanksgiving, one of the “conversation” holidays, it’s over. The month of December generally hits us all with more family and/or friend’s parties, dinners, get togethers of all kinds. There will be people that we care about but only see on holidays, once every few years. There is so much we have missed in each other’s lives and without realizing it in our “conversations” we are busy coming up with things we want the other to know about us. Oops. We just missed most of what they were trying to tell us about them.
I also just realized that we use a form of selective hearing when we deal with children, spouses; maybe it’s because we think we know already where they are going with their conversations. I have learned with my little niece Haliegh that I need to be on my toes! That child is very smart, very conversational and if you’re smart you don’t want to miss it. The kids at the school where I am a foster grandparent/teacher I have learned to listen closely. They have some wonderful ideas.
We did a “circle story” with the class this fall. We started with the teacher making up the first sentence of the story and then it goes on to the first child, the next and the next, right around to all 15 kids, each kept up their part of the circle. It was wonderful! These are only first graders!
If you have kids at home of any age I encourage you to listen carefully to what they say to you. It might be tougher with teens; they have already learned to not talk to an adult because they probably don’t want to listen to you anyway. Let’s change this where we can.
Family and friends will remember any discussion with you when you have been actively listening to them. Let them talk; you can make comments but remember to listen to understand, I promise your interest will be noticed.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org sub: Communication problem. Thanks for reading. Looking forward to any communication.
PS: Put the cell phone away while with others!
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