I am not an active listener or patient listener. I have noticed over few years that when I am having a conversation or dialogue with someone, I am constantly analysing and making assumptions, often find myself in my own world.
This was part of how I grow up, learning new language which made no sense to me at all. I’ve trained myself to react to the conversation on when people called my name or when they are talking directly to me. Probably, this is one of the reason that I prefer small group gathering (2 to 3 people) rather than a large group gathering (more than 4 people). I tend to feel left out when I am in a large group gathering.
For many years, my brother repeated warned me to “read between lines.” This was quite hard for me to practice because I make assumptions, and judgement based on my own experience. What happens then? Majority of time I made wrong conclusion.
From there, what I have learnt is to ask questions.
When someone asked me to do xyz, I will ask “my current understanding of what you’ve asked me to do is…”.
When someone said “I want it to be normal”, I will ask “what do you mean by normal?”
When someone said “It’s a beautiful day” I will ask “can you illustrate to me how beautiful it is?”
When someone said “he’s annoying” I will ask “how did he make you feel annoyed.”
I’ve also learnt to control myself by not asking too many question in a go but asking question allowed me to clarify my understanding and their understanding of a same word.
The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.Peter Drucker
I have noticed that through active listening, and trying my best to understand a person in front of me, I get better with hearing what isn’t said. Someone once explained to me as: “It is like tuning into their radio station at same wave length.”
Sometime, just listening to them, people find their own resolution. Sometime, asking some simple questions, out of my curiosity, may lead them to a realisation.
Sometime, rephrase their statement may help them to shift their perspective.
What are you listening today that isn’t said?
Where will you be tuning in to listen?
What will you be communicating with whom today?