Many of my blogs portray a life of traveling, dealing with diverse people and situations, and confronting myself with my innermost darkness. Thus, I want to start focusing more of what I actually wrestle with in daily life: communication and conflicts.
I don’t want you to think that I am in conflicts all the time; as a matter of fact I hate conflicts, but I am starting to learn how to handle conflicts in a positive, rewarding and effective way.
This blog will tackle one of the most valuable and important parts of communication and conflict handling skills: listening!
GET THIS: Out of all human communication non-verbal communication and listening are listed as the two most used types of communication.
Music, cars racing, birds singing requires your ears to notice, but these sounds hitting your eardrums are not classifies as listening. This is labeled hearing, which is an important part of listening, but it does not partake in a communications transaction.
Mindless listening – very important skill for us to stay sane. Mindless listening is what happens when you listen to a message, but your brain is on autopilot. An example could be the radio going on in the background while cooking or the television while doing laundry. We listen to countless of communication pieces daily, and we would go absolutely insane if we were to pay attention to everything that comes our way. However, mindless listening is not always a respectful and appropriate response to conversation. A good listener knows when to listen mindfully and when it is okay to listen mindlessly.
Mindful listening – “Involves giving careful and thoughtful attention and responses to the messages we receive” (Adler & Proctor, 2014). This type of listening requires (1) attention, (2) attempting to understand, (3) response, and (4) remembrance. We tend to listen to messages that are important to ourselves; messages that could affect us. Good communicators pay attention to messages that are important to others too.
Proverbs 2:2 “Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding” (ESV)
1: Attention – strengthens the relationship between the one listening and the one speaking. When we show that we are paying attention it does not just help us as listeners, but also the one talking.
2: Attempting to understand – when we make sense of the message. Asking questions and paraphrasing can often hinder misunderstandings.
3: Response – observable feedback. This can be verbal feedback, but also eye contact and appropriate facial expressions. Conversation is never meant as a oneway street.
4: Remembering – being able to recall information. Most people have forgotten up to 65% of the information they were given after 8 hours. You see now why it can be helpful to pay attention when someone is talking?
I encourage you to keep these things in mind next time you talk to someone you care about or someone you would like to get to know better.