It’s time to participate in the April A-Z Blog Challenge. I will be blogging every day in April, with Sunday’s off.
The topic for each day will begin with the designated letter of the alphabet.
This Monday’s letter is L.
Disclaimer: This post is not about anyone in particular. I wrote this as an experienced good listener who has had my share of one sided conversations.
So, listen. Do you? Listen, I mean.
I am a good listener. Although it is sometimes frustrating, especially for my husband, and at times it may seem selective, but I also have a good memory. Sure, I may remember an intonation differently, but the gist of the conversation is certainly accurate in my mind.
Ross says I think I can read his mind. Well, he’s not 100% right about that, because I know I can read his mind. It is a skill that good listeners just naturally develop.
Clearly, or at least it has been my experience, that when two people are engaged in a conversation only one person can speak at a time. It may not occur to the person who is supposed to be listening, that having a conversation with yourself while the other person is taking is not being a good listener. It’s a fact that many people engage in what I call “thought jumping”.
It may go something like this:
First Talker: “I was on a trip recently. We went to a small town in upstate New York.”
The not so accomplished listener immediately begins to “ thought jump”: “Hmm, I once went to a small town in upstate New York. It was by a lake. We went to a quaint little restaurant. What was the name of it? Oh, what was it? I can’t wait until it’s my turn to talk so that I can relate my experiences”.
So while First Talker continues on with his or her story, all that Non Listener is hearing are muffled sounds like the adult characters in the Charlie Brown comic strip make.
Sometimes the Non Listener cannot contain him or herself and interrupts First Talker.
Interrupting is the best example of not being a good listener.
Okay I admit it. I am not a perfect listener. For instance, if a droner has gotten a hold of my ear, I try my best, I really do, but I find that I inadvertently start to “mind drift.” “Mind drifting” can be a more serious infraction of the “Good Listener” rules than “thought jumping.” There is no recovery from mind drifting. You can never catch up, once you start to “mind drift”.
Also, if I am intently concentrating on something, I am the worst listener.
Another “Good Listener” rule to follow is to ask the talker questions, especially questions about him or her. This usually makes the talker comfortable enough to want to continue to share.
Of course there are question boundaries which cannot be crossed until you, as a good listener, have gained the trust of your conversation companion.
I have a quiet soft voice. I speak in a low volume, in an even tempo and without much inflection. If you really want to “hear” what I have to say you must lean in closely and just listen.
Why not check out some of the other 2033 participants in the April 2014 A-Z Blog Challenge.