By Tina O’Conner
Sometimes listening takes quite a bit of energy. What greater gift, though, can we give to another person, than to actually listen to what they are sharing. How often do you find yourself daydreaming or thinking about your “to do” list instead of focusing? Our employers expect that we are listening during a staff meeting or when instructions are given.
Most persons struggle with listening because we want to help “fix” whatever problem is discussed. This perspective goes back to last week’s submission of seeking external validation. We believe if I can “fix” this problem, they will like me.
This concept helps us manage feeling insecure and lonely. As we learned from last week, confidence comes from internalizing our value and worth. All we have to do is listen. It is perfectly acceptable to say to the other person I don’t have an answer for you, but I can support you through this issue.
Many of the daily struggles that challenge us do not have an answer. It’s about perseverance, learning about who we are as individuals, and asking for support. Even in the workplace it may be tough to ask for help.
We believe it makes us look weak and feels vulnerable. It takes strength and courage to ask a question. Asking questions helps us clarify the task presented to us and lets the speaker know we are listening.
A communication tool that works well is for the listener to repeat what the speaker shared. The speaker then has an opportunity to clarify. This tool shows regard and respect for the relationship, whether personal or professional.
It also helps alleviate miscommunication. In the workplace, this helps with efficiency, prioritizing, and developing teamwork.
The art of listening decreases our stress level. Listening helps us focus on being mindful; the here and now. Listening and then moving on the next task clears our mind and allows us to breathe.
When we multitask by listening and thinking about something else, our thoughts begin to race. Take some time this week to listen and show another person the respect they deserve.