Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Are You Listening?

I once met a couple that had managed to work out a system for communication that was so unique it made a lasting impression on me. The gal was a nonstop talker and when her husband wanted to say something he simply gave her a friendly hand signal and she would stop immediately and let him get a few words in the conversation. The first time I saw them do this I was surprised and a little embarrassed for the wife but then I thought about it later and realized that they had developed a mutual understanding that worked for them.

I also remember in elementary school when we were trying to teach kids the importance of listening we would use a prop that was passed to each person as a signal that it was their turn to talk. The kids enjoyed the lesson and learned the importance of having everyone’s voice in the room.
Hopefully, some of the learning carried over into their adult life to make them better communicators.

It takes effort to hold back, and make sure that everyone has an equal amount of time to speak. But when we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes it is easier to understand the importance of doing so. Everyone wants to feel important, and to know that their opinions matter. Listening to them reaffirms that they are an equal partner in the discussion.You may not agree with them and that’s okay. We all have our own personal view of things depending on our life experiences.

Doesn’t it feel good when someone truly listens to you without interruption, judgment? People who are willing to give you their uninterrupted attention and time are rare. Most people are simply waiting (albeit) impatiently for their turn to talk. We can tell caring listeners by their eye contact and body language. We know that they are not thinking about what they have to do tomorrow, or their next meeting or client but are focused on what we are saying. They may even rephrase what we said to be sure they heard something correctly but otherwise, they simply listen with their head and heart. They are giving us something that can never be replaced – their time. The moment, once elapsed, is gone forever. Folks like this do not worry about ‘losing time’ but are more concerned about making a difference in the life of someone else. They are genuinely interested in what we are saying and doing. People like this are hard to come across but we all run into a few such special individuals in our lives. Their listening behavior signals an unconditional acceptance that causes us to feel more valued, cared for and respected.

Listening is at the heart of communication . In our hectic world so many people are yearning to be heard. It takes effort to sit still and listen attentively without interruption. It takes effort to learn to ask questions that empower rather than using simply declarative statements that disempower but the results are so worth the effort.

Have a great few days!

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