L is for listening

As we’re on L in our alphabet series, I was spoilt for choice with the number of quotes that flashed through my mind about listening.  Stephen Covey’s ‘seek first to understand and then be understood’ or Winnie the Pooh telling us to be patient when someone isn’t listening because that person may have some fluff in their ear.  However, it was this quote by the Dalai Lama, that I settled on.

How many times do we hog a conversation because we want to get our thoughts and ideas, knowledge and skills across to others to show a different perspective on a particular subject?  Could it even be that we want to prove that they are wrong and we are right?!  Yet when we stop being on transmit and start to listen fully to the other person we hear what they say as well as how they feel.  By paying full attention, listening with our ears and eyes we can start to really understand what the person is talking about, and become more empathetic towards their points of view.

I know that I am apt to talk a lot!  I’ve always been a chatty person.  It’s not intentionally to seek the limelight, or make people laugh but I think it has been a learned behaviour to make others feel at ease.  I felt if I was talking it took the pressure off them.  Of course, through my own work and oodles of observations and learning, I’ve realised that this could have been totally misinterpreted and that had I asked more open questions of others, it would have given them the opportunity to share more about themselves.  After all, one of our most basic human needs is to be understood.

Winston Churchill once said that ‘it takes courage to stand up and speak, it’s also takes courage to sit down and listen’.  So my key learning here, is the next time I am aware that I’m doing too much of the talking, to remind myself that we were created with a mouth that could close, and ears that remain open for a reason!!!

Be prepared to talk to me!!! 😉

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