Sunday, May 9, 2010

Be a World Class Listener

If it wasn't already obvious, this blog is turning into a collection of self-help take aways. I've read a lot of good material and it usually simmers for a day or two before it's forgotten. So I'm hoping that by paraphrasing these gems, they'll start to become a way of life at some point.

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff in Love talks about becoming a World Class Listener. I truly feel that feeling listened to is one of our deepest desires and is at the heart of all good relationships, yet very few people do it well.

A typical conversation with my Dad, who is a terrible listener usually goes like this: I say something and not even five words in, his eyes glaze over. Sometimes it's because he's not interested in the topic, but usually it's because he's waiting for his chance to jump in and turn the conversation on to himself. I do it too. I interrupt and finish other people's sentences so that I can add my two cents.

It completely deflates the other person's joy in sharing and it's a ROYAL DRAG. This is my ego saying "look at me, look at what I did". It not only makes me look pathetic, but creates distance between me and the other person. Why not just listen. Pause. Reflect. And say nothing!

I'm learning from a friend who does this really well. It's not easy for me to focus -- I like to talk! But when I put everything else asside and listen to the words and emotions, I feel really connected to what is being said instead of waiting impatiently for my turn to talk. There's also a quiet confidence with letting someone else enjoy the limelight. I don't need to talk about myself to feel good. Oh, I can't wait to practice this again. Talk to me!

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