17 July 2014

Getting Better At Listening - part three

So, what stops us listening to other people? Do any of these ring true for you?

Distraction: You start to hear part of the story and suddenly your mind starts wandering... Before long, you aren't listening at all. Perhaps you are trying to work out what the person is really feeling... instead of listening to what he or she actually is saying. Or perhaps the person has triggered a memory of your own, and you are really half-listening...

Selective Hearing: Listening only to the things that interest you, and ignoring the rest.

Rehearsing: When you are so busy planning what you are going to say next, that you are only listening for a gap in the conversation to 'jump in'.

Identifying: Always bringing the conversation around to a similar experience of your own.

Pre-empting: Trying to give a solution to the problem after just a few sentences; before you have heard all the information.

Parrying: Disagreeing so quickly so that the other person never even gets heard. Often this is a defensive response, trying to fend off put-downs. However, sometimes people use this to avoid praise! It's far better to accept the comment as it is intended, whether good or bad.

Derailing: Awful - simply changing the subject, because you're angry, uncomfortable or simply can't be bothered.

Remember - part of developing good listening skills is to give the person your attention. In all these instances the listener is not giving the other person the attention and respect he or she deserves; attention that the listener would expect if the situation were reversed.

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