“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
―Stephen R.Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
How good are your listening skills? I thought mine were pretty good but now I’m not so sure. I think they could do with some improvement.
How often do you ask questions and really want to know the answer?
I recently started a new role as a select board member for my town (local government) and that means taking responsibility for many new areas. I have no experience or know-how in waste water treatment, fire, ambulance and police services, highway maintenance, tax collection etc. So I’ve been going on many site visits and having many meetings and asking questions to learn everything I can. I’ve enjoyed these visits. They are so interesting and there is so much new information. Who knew?
It makes realize that in many conversations I don’t listen well, especially ones that have an element of repetition or are in an area where I think I know! I listened well when i was in a new area and didn’t know anything. Maybe usually I’m listening for the answer I expect or I’m working out what the next question should be or I’m just being polite asking questions with no real interest in the answer!!!
It is a lovely feeling to have someone really listen to you. Maybe this is why so many people go to see talk therapists? My new resolution is to treat every conversation as an opportunity to learn something new and really understand what is being said. I’m going to start really listening ALL the time and take the time to understand what is being said! I’m going to practice being really present with the conversation.
How about you?