Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Importance of Listening

As we grow older and (in some ways) more intelligent, it is easy to forget that there is still so much left to learn. Conversation becomes less about learning, less about listening to the other person and more about simply waiting for you turn to talk.

It is easy to love the sound of your own voice. We spend so much time mulling over our own thoughts, opinions and stories, that we imagine voicing them takes priority over listening to the thoughts, opinions and stories of others. We forget that listening is the basis for true growth and development in kindness and love.

Listening opens up our minds and hearts to the other individual. It shows that we care. Failing to listen demonstrates disregard and disinterest. Through the simple activity of listening one can become a kinder, wiser and more caring individual.

Here are some simple active listening exercises you could try:

-       Mentally try and repeat what they are saying back to yourself so that you are actively attempting to understand what they mean.
-       After they've spoken, if there are doubts lingering, don’t be afraid to ask for clarifications.
-       Maintain regular eye contact with the speaker so that you don't drift off into your own thoughts. Maintaining eye contact also lets the other person know you are listening.