Listen The Unspoken
Humans have the ability to listen to sounds only in a particular frequency range. Hence, we cannot hear what bats can hear or for that matter dogs. And it is also a fact that our ability to listen to higher frequency diminishes with age. Take a test before you read on to see how well you can hear.
So while it is true that with age we lose the ability to hear sounds of higher frequency, it is equally gratifying to know that with age you develop the ability to hear the unspoken words of a friend.
With maturity comes the ability to read between the lines. You have the ability to decipher the code of emotions. And also develop the ability to get the message despite the camouflaged words.
Hence listening is not just the sound of the words but also the emotions behind them. And reading emotions is a tough act that comes only with practice, as well as being attentive during the listening session.
– Putting your phone away or in silent mode is a prerequisite for attentive listening but equally important is silencing the chatter in your mind. Sit in the conversation with an honest intention to listen and you have started on a good note.
– Listen emphatically keeping in mind the current context and perspective of the speaker. Display visible signs that you are focused and listening, by maintaining eye contact and nodding your head at appropriate moments.
– Ensure that you have listened accurately by repeating and paraphrasing what you heard. Ask questions that explore more details and stay away from questions that lead to conclusions.
– Each time during the conversation show patience and allow the person to speak without interruption or prompting. Give the person the benefit of holding the mike as long as they want.
– Summarize your understanding and seek their consent to offer counsel, suggestions and remedies. It is also perfectly fine to reserve your observations for a later conversation after you have fully reflected on them.
Try this when you next have a session with a family member or a colleague and see if your newly acquired listening tips give you and the speaker higher satisfaction.