Happy: notably fitting, effective, or well adapted
Five Keys to listening for happier and more productive relationships
"Few people have had much training in listening. Living in a competitive culture, most of us are most of the time chiefly concerned with getting our own view across, and we tend to find other people’s speeches a tedious interruption of our of our own ideas.” — S.I. Hayakawa
Most of us know how to listen, we have the skills. When we don’t use those skills it’s usually because we are busy, distracted, bored, disinterested, preoccupied, or impatient to get to something or somewhere else.
Listening is a choice. And it’s OK to choose not to listen, as long as you are aware of what you are doing and prepared to accept the effects of your choices.
“If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.” “Pooh's Little Instruction Book,” inspired by A. A. Milne
Below are 13 reasons to listen offered by experts, scholars, and sages. Which catch your attention, affirm or challenge you, inspire a desire to listen more, less, in new or different ways?
1. Listening builds patience. “Patience is the most necessary quality for business, many a man would rather you heard his story than grant his request.”– Lord Chesterfield
2. Listening builds relationships. "There are many benefits to this process of listening. The first is that good listeners are created as people feel listened to. Listening is a reciprocal process – we become more attentive to others if they have attended to us." — Margaret J. Wheatley
4. Listening offers job security. “No one ever listened themselves out of a job.” — Calvin Coolidge
5. Listening heals. “One of the most valuable things we can do to heal one another is listen to each other's stories.” — Rebecca Falls
6. Listening frames perspective. “A little recognized value of listening and inquiring relates to the realization that in human relationships, it is frequently not what the facts are, but what people think the facts are which is truly important. There is benefit in learning what someone else’s concept of the reality of the situation is.” — Bryan Bell
7. Listening demonstrates courage. "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." — Sir Winston Churchill
8. Listening demonstrates caring. "An open ear is the only believable sign of an open heart." — David Augsburger
9. Listening forms intelligent argument. “A good listener tries to understand thoroughly what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but before he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with.” — Kenneth A. Wells
10. Listening demonstrates wisdom. “It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes
11. Listening shows empathy. "You cannot listen to the words another is speaking if you are pre-occupied with your appearance or with impressing the other, or are trying to decide what you are going to say when the other stops talking, or are debating about whether or not what is being said is true relevant or agreeable. Such matters have their place, but only after listening to the word as the word is being uttered." — William Stringfellow
12. Listening supports change. “Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don't believe is right.” — Jane Goodall
13. Listening brings acceptance and appreciation. “An essential part of true listening is the discipline of bracketing, the temporary giving up or setting aside of one's own prejudices, frames of reference and desires so as to experience as far as possible the speaker's world from the inside, step inside his or her shoes…Sensing this acceptance, the speaker will feel less and less vulnerable and more and more inclined to open up the inner recesses of his or her mind to the listener. As this happens, speaker and listener begin to appreciate each other more and more…” — M. Scott Peck
Five Keys to Listening: Happy Habits for Happier, More Effective and Productive Relationships
Happy listening, effective and productive, allows people to work together to achieve corporate goals, motivate, build trust, and promote teamwork.
“Improved listening skills will not necessarily result in improved listening. We must apply these skills. We must be convinced that it pays to listen. The combination of desire (I want to listen), effort (I’m going to work at it), and skill (I know how to do it) will result in improved listening.” — Donald L. Kirkpatrick, No-Nonsense Communication
When you chose to listen, here are five keys to listening that when practiced daily, will open you to happier, more productive relationships.
1: Stop everything. Stop everything that you are doing. Be still. Quiet your mind, focus your attention. Open yourself to others’ thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Be receptive.
2: Look at the person. Look at the person in front of you or imagine the person sitting in the room with you. Focus your complete attention on that person. Listen to the whole message without interruption.
3: Accept what is said. Accept what the person says, the complete message including the feelings presented. Accept the message, words, phrases, tone, and length of the message. Listen for pauses and the rate of speech when listening to voicemail. Suspend your inner dialogue, what you plan to say in response or rebuttal.
4: Acknowledge the person and the message. Demonstrate that you receive and understand what is said. When face-to-face, maintain eye contact, take notes, nod, and paraphrase. With voicemail and email, summarize and paraphrase your understanding with a timely response.
5: Pause before you respond. This ensures that you get the complete message without interruption. It also gives you time to think. Is a response desired or needed? If so, then what is your best response, one that serves both you and the other person and demonstrates, gives evidence that you listened? If not, then lets give the other person's words the space they need to be.
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