In this day and age, it’s extremely rare for an adult to leave their home without their cell phone. Why is that? They might miss a call, or an important email! We are currently living in the age of constant communication, yet many are feeling more disconnected than ever before. Unfortunately, it’s rare to go through a lunch with a friend without mutually taking breaks to check messages and social media updates.
With this constant distraction, our listening skills have decreased dramatically. Listening is proven to be a vital skill necessary for resolving conflict. So why is the skill so elusive in our time?
One Mouth vs. Two Ears
Successful people often spend more time listening than speaking, as it is an effective tool that helps build trust between parties. It’s shown that by focusing mental energy on listening during conversations, you will build credibility. Truly listening allows you to be perceived as skilled in working with others, and everybody appreciates amiable personalities in both the workspace and personal lives. Furthermore, genuine listening is an act of support, and will make others inclined to show you the same level of empathy and respect that you displayed them. Listening comes at zero expense to the listener – and can even lead to stronger relationships.
So Why Don’t We All Do It?
Rarely does anyone who is not spiritually invested in the practices of mindfulness or meditation ever allot time in their busy day to sit in silence. This relentless mind chatter that has been further exacerbated by social media could likely be the cause of our listening deficit. While most people approach listening by planning what their response will be and highlighting where they agree and disagree with the speaker – genuine listeners approach things much differently.
How to Listen More Effectively
Genuine listening is all about tuning into your empathetic nature. The fundamental difference between the listeners and speakers is that listeners work to place themselves into the shoes of those who are speaking to them. Speakers, on the other hand, approach conversations without taking the time to consider the emotions behind the other person’s words. While listeners place the spotlight on speakers, speakers use conversations as a time to enjoy the spotlight on them.
All professional mediators have one thing in common: they listen. The profession, that is necessary to resolve conflict, would be obsolete if families, government’s, workers, and their bosses only worked to temper themselves and truly listen to their opposition. There is often crucial information hiding behind the words of others, and if you take the opportunity to truly tune in to what the other person is saying, you will have access to insight that you didn’t possess before beginning the conversation.
True listening is contagious. By making others feel heard, it will inspire them to do the same for the people in their lives. Change can spark from the actions of one person. Those who listen live in increased harmony than those who waste their energy arguing. Transform the world around you, two ears at a time.
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