I wrote in my book, Embracing Mystery, that nothing is as fascinating and rare as the attention of another. The fact is that people just do not listen well. I think it was Mark Twain who wrote: Bored is someone who wants to talk about himself when I want to talk about myself. How many times have you experienced someone asking you a question, not out of genuine concern for what you are saying, but rather as an opportunity for them to fill in their thoughts and opinions on a topic?
People are hungry to be listened to – someone who cares enough to stop their program for the benefit of others. Unfortunately, such people are spontaneous and distracted.
Once at a party, a man came up to me and said that my wife, Carol, was a wonderful talker. That night on the way home, I told Carol what he had said and asked her what she had done to give him the impression. He thought for a moment, “All I did was ask him questions about his life and listen to his answers. I asked him more questions.” Here lies the secret of good conversation … good listening.
From Carol’s point of view, I have developed what I call the listening ladder. Climb the ladder of listening and you will be on the path to improving social interaction.
L. Look at the person talking to you. This alone sends the message that you are focused and engaged.
A) Ask additional questions that are provided from the answers given to your basic questions. Remember that by listening to what is being said, you are learning what to say.
د. Do not interrupt. The only time interruption is acceptable is when you need an explanation.
D- Do not change the subject. The narrator will show when he has finished his story.
E. Empathize with the speaker. Short phrases like “how interesting”. “How exciting.” “You must be very proud.” Send a message to the speaker that you are a compassionate listener.
A: Answer what is being said orally and non-verbally. A simple nod or a slight bend towards the speaker indicates interest and attention. Add phrases like, “I see” to this item. “Really?” “It is true?” And you enrich your answer
In the end, I want to clarify something. Dialogue is a two-way street. Most conversations are monologues that take place in the presence of an observer. If after a reasonable period of time, the speaker is not willing to ask you a question and becomes a listener, end the interaction and continue. I usually spend ten minutes talking to someone. If after that they do not ask me a question or ask my opinion, I say something like this: “It was good to chat with you. The conversation should be reciprocal.
I love the story of the Hollywood self-proclaimed star who was heard telling one of his admirers, “Enough talking about me. I’d like you to talk about me for a while.” There is a lot of truth in this little story.
Good luck climbing the Listening Ladder. The view from above is wonderful.