Beluga Sense- Listen Well
Extreme circumstances aside, it is of vital importance to help other people only as much as they help themselves; more than this will result in stripping them of their pride, integrity and power. So next time someone approaches you with their problem the best thing you can do is listen, listen intently to all they have to say. Then unless the person requests your specific input or help, offer only the sympathetic ear. Yet many, as soon as they are confronted with this situation, go into automatic pilot and try to fix things without being asked to do so. We are propelled to do this because we dislike uncomfortable feelings, being thrust into unpleasant situations or simply because we like to maintain control. Oftentimes however fixing their problems fends off our own feelings of inadequacy or helplessness; by attempting to fix their problem, we are avoiding our own.
Listening is a vital communication skill. It connects two or more people, allowing each to share those elusive human characteristics such as feelings, thoughts, needs or particular likes or dislikes. We need to listen with our eyes, with our heart and soul. Remember also that how we listen honours the integrity of the other person. It declares, “I recognize you are a separate being from me and that what you say is most important. I believe you know yourself best. Furthermore, respecting the existing human boundaries, I opt from dominating you and instead, meet you half way and lend you an attentive ear. “
- Remember the value of earnest listening.
- Be mindful that you are not as informed about the other person as they are of themselves.
- Keep your focus on them and their probable plight.
- Assume that your advice is superfluous unless specifically asked for. Remember also that when most people are disturbed they might not say outwardly what’s within. “Allow me to blow off steam. Please just listen and take my side; I’m not really here for the advice. Do not discount it entirely however, I may seek your advice later still.”
- Nod periodically when listening and if need be, repeat what you’ve just heard so as to assure both of you of the accuracy of the spoken facts.
- If you are at any time baffled by the present facts, speak up and ask for the more precise interpretation of it.
- It’s O.K. to share a similar, but brief story of your own.
- It’s most annoying when people say, “I know what you mean.” Unless of course you have experienced exactly the same. Rather it is best to simply utter, “I’m sorry.”
- If they are talking in circles, with due discretion suggest a repose in the way of refreshments, or food. This will provide them with the opportunity of calming down and collecting their thoughts.
- When the exchange is resumed, simply don a kind, understanding smile and adapt a slower pace in speech.
- If you’ve been required to give advice, but find yourself again listening to the repetitive facts, you may gently interrupt, “I understand well your grievances, and how may I assist you?”