“Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you. Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you.” -Anonymous
Human connection is about showing people who we are deep inside beyond the masks we wear. Who are you when you are emotionally naked, with no mask or armor? This vulnerable state provides a view for others to see our souls – who we are as a family member, friend, classmate, co-worker, and as leader. Some of us will never allow this part of ourselves to be seen. It’s too scary. Some possses an attitude of distrust when it comes to people. Being vulnerable requires trust. So…how is trust built? By extending our trust to the other person. What does that look and sound like? Grace and space. We extend trust when we allow the other person the grace and space to be, feel, and think as they do in the moment. We accept who and where they are inside their heart and head. We simply LISTEN.
Life is a journey filled wtih speed bumps, pot holes, mountains to climb, pinnacles of tremendous joy, successes, and dissapointments. How we choose to respond to each of these, whether an obstacle or victory, depends largely on our view of the world. Is our glass half empty or half full? Do we live to serve others or are others living to serve us? Can I see “it” from their perspective? Can I walk in their shoes and feel what they are feeling? If you can, then you can become a good listener with practice.
Meaningful communication empowers us to create human connections that help us get through life’s obstacles. Meaningful communication is the foundation of having a meaningful life. It is the key to lasting relationships. Friendships, marriages, parenting, leading others, emerging careers…you name it…the degree of our success depends on meaningful communication. What are the essential ingredients for meaningful communication: emapthy, humility, acceptance of the person in the moment, the ability to reflectively listen and refrain from “sounding off.” We communicate effectively by allowing the conversation to remain in the hands of the person with the problem or something to share. We let them own the conversation.
Human connection and communication improve when we willingly listen while extending our hearts, our ears, and our time to the other person. Evaluate your listening skills. Ask, “When someone comes to me, do I dominate, avoid, or judge? If yes, or even some of the time, you’ve got work to do. Anyone can improve their skills of communication but it takes intentional practice. We must be willing to do the work.
The most helpful thing a person can do is listen. It is the sincerest form of flattery. It is how we empower a person to increase their self-confidence and problem solving capacity. It is how we connect to each other.
How about a little practice? Set a small goal and see what happens.
You know, I find myself interrupting others when they come to me with a problem. I need to be a better listener. I’m going to wear a rubber-band on my wrist and when someone comes to me with their problem, I’ll pop it to remind myself to BE QUIET and LISTEN. I’ll keep notes in my journal of who comes to me and how I responded. What could you do?
Remember – We were created with two ears and one mouth. Listening is the most helpful thing a person can do for someone else. Touch a life by being the best listener.