listening conversation

A listening conversation is good for your health, wellbeing and sense of identity. It is vital for social cohesion and when you are listening well you are doing something useful for the people you listen to.

I heard someone say, “People are so afraid of talking, really talking to each other”. It’s a view for which I have some sympathy. Most of us talk all the time but say very little.

For general consumption this may be OK; we have neither the time nor the inclination to involve ourselves in a deep and meaningful listening conversation at every turn. Nor would it be appropriate to overshare personal details and viewpoints. There has to be some connection with others though, it’s essential for our sense of identity, wellbeing, and social cohesion.

Connecting with others via purposeful and fulfilling listening conversation is enlivening and intellectually stimulating, and it helps participants’ cognitive functioning too. Quite literally, a meaningful conversation where you feel connected to another helps you think better.

How to connect

You know you are really having a connected conversation when, as I say, ‘the room disappears’; you become so focused on the conversation that you are only peripherally aware of your surroundings.

Talking about ourselves isn’t taboo. It doesn’t have to be ‘me-me-me. We may be living in a culture that idolises and aspires to celebrity, against a backdrop of social media twittering, but that’s just wallpaper (maybe just papering over the cracks in some cases).

Real people (men and women) do real conversation. Real conversations involve people talking about important stuff, learning about each other, sharing ideas, and above all, listening. One of the most useful things you can do for another person, I believe, is to really listen and ask them intelligent, probing questions. Ideally, these should take them down a track they haven’t been down before.

By the way, a good question goes on working long after you have asked it, so it shouldn’t necessarily require an answer.

I’ve been rooting around in the archives recently, and I’ve re-jigged my listening download. I will locate the one on questions and make that available too.

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I’m a psychologist, coach, and therapist. All my work is aimed at enabling people to improve personal aspects of their lives and work.


One Comment

  1. Jeanette November 22, 2016 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    Listening is a skill and sometimes takes years of experience. Lots of patience is needed. Like a recipe all ingredients are needed to complete a good out come, leave out a ingredient then the recipe will fail. Everyone has a voice and a Voice needed to be heard. It’s amazing what can be achieved just by being a silent listener. Communication is a great healer for any person who just wants to off load. So Godbless all the Ears who have given their time up to share in someone’s life in some way☺️????

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