I’ll talk some more about listening. It is such a fundamental skill in our relationships that we need to practise more. Here’s a way to look at listening:
Do a little exercise. One day sitting around with some of your colleagues, friends, family members etc, try this:
Everybody clap their hands on their knees. It makes a noise, right.? Keep clapping. Listen to the noise coming from your own clapping. That’s easy. Now, listen to the sound of the clapping of someone sitting next to you. Then, listen to the sound of someone else. Keep moving your attention – also to the sound of all the hands clapping. Keep going for a while – moving your attention.
Is it possible to listen to someone else’s clapping? Of course it is. What does it take?
Willingness, focus, concentration and attention.
Now, imagine this is us having a conversation. Most of the time you listen to the sound of your own thoughts. You are more interested in what’s in your own box than really listen to the other person.
See also: http://first-time-leader.blogspot.com/2010/10/where-is-your-box.html
If you want to have better conversations – leading to better relationships – you must start with listening. Put your box aside for a while and concentrate on what the other person is saying.
Practise moving your attention over to the other person. I don’t know how your mind works, but find what it takes to “put your attention over there” like when you listened to the clapping. Now you can listen to the other person – listen to understand, not to argue.
You know you have been active listening when you are tired afterwards. There is a reason why it’s called “active listening." It takes effort.