A Lesson in Listening
I was on a date recently. We were walking around outside and then we decided to sit down and drink coffee at a picnic table. I started talking about my day and I began to notice a frustrating train my date was exhibiting, he was ignoring me. No matter how loud or animated I was, I did not get a verbal or non verbal response. Finally, he barely muttered something intelligible, picked up his phone and walked away, leaving me alone at the picnic table with my wounded pride to keep me company.
I sat disconcerted and confused, why was this happening to me? What did I do wrong? Why couldn't he hear me?…. and then, I woke up! This dream was so vivid, I woke up angry at my date; I could not believe he would not listen to me! (Obviously this reveals an insecurity within me but let’s not talk about my subconscious emotions just yet ;)....)
The biggest impression this dream had on me was that it got me thinking about humanity and the way that I treat others. If a short dream [read: not real life] could have that effect on me, what kind of impact do I have on others when I do not listen properly?
Please don’t think I go around ignoring people and rudely dropping out of conversations, rather I choose to not be completely present when someone is talking to me and I am sure I miss out on some great information. How do you listen when other people are talking? I know I am really listening when I am able to reflect back what the other person is saying.
This week I choose to listen, listen, listen, and then ask strategic questions.
P.s. Remember that a large percentage of our communication is nonverbal, so how are you "listening" to that as well?