“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” Stehpen R. Covey
How often to you feel as if you have been heard?
How often do you understand what is being said to you?
Do we listen carefully, or do we listen to others and try to understand their perspective, or do we listen with the intention of being right?
The intricacies of verbal communication are dependent on culture, society, belief, emotion and perceived position. No wonder most of us don’t always say what we mean or hear with is being said!
Problems arise when our ability to speak and listen efficiently are compromised. In the moment of conversation, make a point of first listening to the words that people are saying, then analysing the context from which the words are coming. This should allow you to find a more stable meaning or intention behind the words.
If you have any doubts, ask the person to repeat what they have said, or like a good waitron in a restaurant, summarize what has been said and repeat it back to the person for clarity.
If you have the time, you can try to link listening to writing. Sometimes when I facilitate mediation between parties, I get one party (A) to speak, and the conflicting party (B) to write down exactly what is being said. Once this is done, the conflicting (B) party reads back what has been written, and corrections of meaning are made. Then the parties then swap roles.
This is a wonderful, non invasive, non conflicting way for people to work through potentially emotionally volatile negotiations or mediations and arrive at a meaningful outcome. The writing allows both parties to express themselves clearly and to listen carefully to what is being said, as well as facilitating greater understanding of what is intended.
This week, do your best to speak clearly, and think things through before you speak. Listen with intention to everything people are saying, then formulate your response. Take time to be clear and get clarity and you will reduce frustration and conflict!
What is being said?
Why is the information presented in this way?
How can I convey my meaning to others clearly?