Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Art Of Listening - Pt 4

Note: To fully understand The Art Of Listening Pt 4, you have to read 1, 2 and 3.

The bottom line is: “Knowing I need to listen and knowing how to listen is not enough. Unless I want to listen, unless I have the desire, it won’t be a habit in my life.” Stephen R. Covey – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

The Art of listening is a skill one must cultivate and that is a task you set for yourself as an individual. Before you read another word ask yourself what are my listening skills like? If you can rate yourself and be honest. You are on your way to developing a habit that will change the course of your life in more ways than you ever imagined.

When you learn to listen to instructions your tendencies to make mistakes are minimised. Think about that for a little while and tell yourself there is no reason to develop your listening skills.

Listening Is Indeed An Art And A Skill To Possess.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Art Of Listening - Pt 3

Being aware of the fact that I need to work on my listening skills is one of the best things that has happened to me this year. Why? Now that I know there is an issue to deal with I will become more conscious of it, and take steps towards becoming a better listener. It starts with my ability to identify the issue because what you don’t admit or acknowledge is an issue you will never take responsibility for it. That’s what being responsible is about; responding to a need, situation or circumstance with the hope for a change. I can’t afford to react irresponsibly because reactions can sometimes lead to adverse consequences but we are not going to get into all of that.

My thing right now is listening to others. Imagine how good it feels when someone says to you; “Thank you for listening.” Believe me when I say without a shadow of doubt it's a feeling no one can ever take away from you. I’ll give you an example; a teenage friend of mine said that to me last month and my response was “I am glad my pain was your joy.” I could only tell her that because I was able to listen to her as we talked about a situation she found challenging and I had been in a similar circumstance in the past. Having a fore knowledge of what she was talking about enabled me to give her some tips on how to handle the same issue next time.

So what’s my game plan? I have every intention of developing my ability to listen to others more, and I must learn not to butt in when someone is in the middle of a sentence. I tend to do that a lot and personally I find it very irritating when others do that to me. Here goes the old adage of treating others the same way you want them to treat you.

The Art Of Listening - Pt 2

Listen! Listen! Listen! I am not claiming to be an expert on this topic but from experience ‘The Art of Listening is a Skill.’ Take this for example when you are in conversation with someone, either in person or over the phone. The individual can tell if they have your attention or not. They know when you are just responding because you think so highly of yourself and believe you are doing them a favour by listening to them blab on and on. Don’t miss this; there are conversations you have no business partaking in because they are nothing but time suckers. There are also conversations you need to listen to because they enhance and enrich you.

There are times you must also listen to yourself or you might just miss an important lesson your intuition is trying to bring across to you. Collecting your thoughts and listening to yourself helps you to clear the clutter that sometimes clouds your mind.

The Art Of Listening - Pt 1

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit; reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” (Maxim – taken from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey)

What does it mean to listen? defines it as:

A - "To give attention with the ear."
B - "To make an effort to hear something."
C - "To pay attention."

Listening is a skill you consciously adopt, cultivate and nurture in the process of self development. Lately I have been working on my ability to listen to others while they talk. It has been a steep learning curve because I can attest to the fact that I used to be a poor listener and that affected my relationships with other people in not so many good ways. I wasn’t discerning enough to realise there were times I needed to shut my mouth and just listen. Looking back there were moments all I was supposed to contribute to the conversation; was to keep quiet and not interrupt the other person as they spoke even if I had an opinion on the matter.

I soon realised it was not a good trait to have especially when you are in a conversation with someone and they have to tell you: “Can you please listen to me” or “Please let me finish.” How embarrassing to be told so politely to keep your trap shut.

It is important to study yourself and one of the best ways of doing so is through your ability to relate to others; you learn so much from listening to the other person. Right now I am working on my ability to be a good listener. It helps when you listen to others because you might not be able to comment on their pressing need but your ability to listen to them alone is already a seed meeting a need.There are times when that’s all certain individuals need; someone to listen to them. One of the reasons you will sometimes hear people say: “I wish someone would just listen to me.”

Even kids need to be listened to and heard. They may be small people but they matter a great deal and so does what they have to say. Imagine if we took time to really listen to our kids what a difference that would make to our families. We are always happy to tell them what to do but we never take the time to ask them what they would like to do. There times when the answer to certain minor challenges lie inside the child next to you. How about when you are looking for that fancy bag you used last week but couldn’t be bothered to put it in the right place when you returned home and now you are like a hurricane looking for what to destroy and making others around you uncomfortable. That’s when you hear her sweet little voice “Mummy it is in the laundry basket.” How stupid do you think you will feel as a parent?