Life ‘s speed seems to be ever increasing with technology and humans are trying to keep up! Communication is more important today than ever. Yet easier said than done in such a high-tech, high-speed, high-stress time that we are all in. As much as this is all very apparent and there are so many different methods of communicating, it seems that effective listening has been increasingly difficult at the same rapid rate!
Honest listening is truly a rare gift, a gift that involves more than just “listening”. Honest listening involves time, patience, thoughtfulness, processing, and action. When all of these elements are involved in “listening”, the act can help build relationships, solve problems, calm distress, save careers, money and marriages and attract love. During recovery listening is extremely important. Sometimes even listening to your inner voice is the voice you should be waiting to hear for great advise, not just your sponsors’.
Here are effective ways to listen during recovery:
Keep Your Eyes On The Speaker
In Western culture it is polite to face your conversation partner and make eye contact. When you are speaking to someone and they are scanning the room, looking at their phone, or watching a tv, how much of their undivided attention do you think you are getting? If it were a child, you may be inclined to say, look at me while I’m speaking to you, but if not, its probably not the appropriate response. Moving closer to your conversation partner and facing them is the easiest way to avoid distractions from the get go. Doing this will avoid the awkward position of feeling ignored by not showing your undivided attention to them first. Conversation is a reciprocal action that goes two directions, so anything you display is more likely to be returned.
Be relaxed, yet attentive.
Screening out background noise by relaxing with deep breaths is a helpful way to focus your attention on the conversation without distractions. Attentiveness with rigidity is uncomfortable for everyone. You don’t need to acquire a fixed stare. The dictionary describes attentiveness as “attending to the other person” and to do so the focus should be to:
- Be present
- pay attention
- give attention
- apply yourself
- be ready to serve
Be open minded.
Listening does not include judgement or criticism. Once you have heard the full thought, if you are alarmed, you must remember, those were their thoughts, not yours. Your not entitled to agree or to understand. If you dont, rather than to judge or fear, the best next decision to understand, it to LISTEN MORE. Always take contrary action if you dont understand, rather than jump to conclusions, ask questions and LISTEN to the answers. The only way to learn about why the other person feels differently from you is to continue listening, you may not agree at first, but you will learn something about yourself and them.
Listen to the speakers words to create a visual picture.
With your open mind allow it to arrange the words or concepts into a mental picture to keep you focused with more than your audible senses. The more senses you involve in your conversation, the more “listening” you are doing. If the conversation is long, focus on key words and phrases. When its your turn to listen, make sure you are just doing that and not focused on the next thing you want to say.
Don’t interrupt or impose “solutions”
Even if the subject matter is boring the heck out of you, if you respect the speaker, don’t interrupt. If you find your thoughts wandering, force a refocus. I have found that this is the one exception to the “no interrupting” rule. Usually, if you kindly let your speaker or companion know you got distracted and want to hear part again because you want to hear them out, its easy to get back on track. BUT, NEVER be a sentence stealer. This is the guy or gal who interrupts you to finish your sentence because they assume they knew the ending and they are impatient to get to speak or respond. This always sends the message that they weren’t listening and what they had to say was more important.
Recovery is a time to listen more, to pick up the pieces and to heal the wreckage of the past. Working on listening skills is a great way to keep focused on building your tool kit for life.