“Everyone hears what you have to say. Friends listen to what you say. Best friends listen to what you don’t say.”
Ever had a relationship where the other person understood what you were not saying?
… A relationship where silence was okay, because you were linked enough to not have to use words to convey your mood or siutation?
If “Yes”, lucky you:)
Really listening to someone as active listening asks us to do, is hard work.
1) Empty your mind
In other words, forget about what you want to say. Minimize or eliminate distraction. Just listen.
Never underestimate the power of focused attention to another person.
Once you have emptied your mind of things that get in the way, you can concentrate on the words chosen to convey some message and the images that come from those words.
Words are not generic … each has a specific meaning, based on the person’s background, culture, and emotional state. Pay attention and analyze what words they choose and the tone in which they use those words.
3) Hear the silence and the words not chosen
This is the most difficult, but is also the source of the greatest insight.
Think about what was said and look for the missing pieces. Try this:
If you were talking about the topic, what would you include?
What did you expect to hear that you did not?
How congruent is their tone with their word choices?
Well, this is actually the easy part … once you hear the unspoken words and feel the underlying emotion, then you have to respond accordingly.
Trying to listen beyond the sounds in the Heartland ….