To love someone unconditionally may be more of an ideal than an achievable goal, but it is a worthy reminder and useful advice in shaping our own behaviour. Still, it is probably out of reach for most mortals. On the other hand, listening unconditionally is something we can practice, and there may be a link to love.
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When someone is asking for help are they really asking for help? What is something else is needed? The question is, how can you find out?
Have you ever wondered about auditory pollution? Probably not, but the sounds and noise we allow ourselves to be subjected to affect us, whether we like it or not. The blurb to this TED Talk by Julian Treasure emphasises communication, but there's an equally important message about personal wellbeing.
How good is your listening? Listening (as opposed to just hearing), is a dynamic activity, not a passive way to pass the time. It takes effort, focus and skill. It also means putting ourselves aside and fully paying attention to those we would listen to. Listening is not for the faint-heated, but the benefits are worth the effort.
I have had many requests recently for information and training on handling redundancy and giving bad news. In response I have prepared a handout to help those who must perform this unenviable task prepare for the job.
Understanding doesn't mean agreeing. It means hearing, acknowledging, being open and willing. This is a challenge but it has benefits to make it worthwhile.
When you hear it, make sure you understand what is meant, in that particular case.
I'm soon to launch my online course How to Listen Effectively. You can help with the fine-tuning by completing my four-minute survey.
I often hear people often say that they don't have time to listen, yet, they expect others to hear them. First, effective listening means that conversations are more productive and shorter (and you won't need to repeat the discussion), so the time thing is invalid. Second, the way to encourage listening is first to demonstrate it yourself. They may not copy you, but you are more likely to get their attention and set the scene for meaningful conversation.