Thursday, October 1, 2009

EFFECTIVE LISTENING

There is a lot of difference between hearing and listening. Listening is an art which we need to consciously develop. It helps us gain knowledge and information, and also to build better interpersonal relationships. A few tips on GOOD LISTENING:

  1. Eye contact – steady, relaxed and not glaring
  2. Reflect expressions and feelings of the talker
  3. Do not interrupt or offer unsolicited advice
  4. Be polite and patient when questioning
  5. Show interest in the speaker as a person
  6. Be open minded till you form an opinion

  1. Be yourself, natural
  2. Talk as an equal, let the other person not feel inferior in any way 3. Deal with the person, not the problem 4. Give your full attention, and stop if you cannot do so.
  3. Smile naturally
  4. Rephrase to understand better, ask open ended questions 7. Remove bias and prejudice, keep aside your own values and attitudes
  5. Be patient. If losing your patience, stop the discussion, take a break 9. Learn to carry silence, be comfortable, allow gaps in conversation.
  6. Show genuine interest and empathy
  7. Steer towards the pain slowly, and make the person open out.
  8. Summarize when there is a need to end the session

POINTS OF BAD LISTENING

  1. Calling the subject uninteresting
  2. Becoming critical of the speaker’s delivery or talking style
  3. Getting over-stimulated by one point in the talk, or drastic statement
  4. Listening only for facts instead of focusing on the feelings
  5. Trying to outline everything or putting it into categories.
  6. Faking attention or showing artificial etiquette.
  7. Tolerating or creating distractions, showing impatience
  8. Avoiding difficult or delicate matters, getting uncomfortable
  9. Letting emotion-laden words throw us out of tune
  10. Wasting differential between speech & thought speed.

Keep in mind that while all of us can HEAR, Listening is not taught to us. In counseling it is important not only to do Active Listening, but also Supportive Listening. It is a skill that needs to be developed and sharpened with practice. It is one of the most important skills for a counselor. Listen with your ears, eyes and heart – only then will the message be complete. -- Ali

Enjoying silence

Have you been away from the city, far, far, away, where there are no proper roads, no electricity, and very few humans around? As the day slowly and reluctantly gives way to the all-enveloping nights, a few stars twinkle in the sky, and a few lanterns hesitatingly nibble on the darkness.

The silence is broken only by the sounds of nature – wind whistling through the trees, frogs or crickets calling out to their mates, a rare animal or bird calling out in distress. Other than that there is silence.

Have you learnt to listen to silence? As a city dweller, have you had occasions to get away from it all, and be in a place that is not rocked with noises of traffic, loud music, people talking on mobiles, and the mad rush of humanity?

Have you learnt to enjoy being alone without feeling lonely? Try it, learn it, and enjoy it. At times enjoy and cherish silence all by yourself, at times with a true friend who does not need words to convey his love for you, at times holding hands with a family member ….

If you can learn to enjoy silence, and if you can master the art of being alone, then nothing can shake you in life. You will be a complete human being, and no one will be able to take away your peace of mind. -- Ali




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