Always listen at world class level…….listen to understand. Covey taught us “seek first to understand, and then to be understood” and if we could apply this wisdom in our relationships we would connect more deeply and be profoundly more adept at navigating the day to day conversations we have with those around us. Nothing does more damage than if you are constantly interrupting, taking over the conversation, and focusing on what you want to say rather than hearing what others are saying.
There is an arrogance that comes with poor listening, it is as if you are saying that your thoughts are more important than anyone else, so you interrupt and complete people’s sentences with no regard for hearing what they have to say. We get signals when people are speaking and if our reaction is one of anger, annoyance, or fear then we are displaying cognitive dissonance….which means that we have programmed our listening to only accept things we already know or believe we have mastered.
Anything else gets rejected and instead we work to preserve that knowledge and prevent any new information from being shared. Listening is the one skill that we can constantly refine…..and more importantly it opens us to a world of possibilities that we hadn’t thought of when we were speaking……….
Robin Sharma said “One of the deepest of all the human hungers is the need to be understood, cherished, and honoured. Yet, in the fast-paced days we live in, too many people believe that listening involves nothing more than waiting for the other person to stop talking. And to make matters worse, while that person is speaking, we are all too often using that time to formulate our own response, rather than empathizing with the point being made.