The other day, while in an all day training session, I got a text from my daughter (after noticing two missed calls from her) that said ‘Answer my call. PLZ.’ I replied ‘Ok. I am in a session so can’t talk.’ Her reply? ‘Oh ok can u listen?’
Now, in her case it was probably that she had an extremely urgent question about missing shoes or potential social engagements that she needed to talk to me about RIGHT NOW, but it occurred to me that so often when we ask someone to talk, what we really need is for them to listen.
Unfortunately, in general we are not very good at listening. We spend a lot of time talking, and thinking about what we might say next, and paying half attention. But the amount of time we spend listening fully to others is pretty small. I train on active listening and have people try to listen to another person’s story while texting. The result for the talker is that they do not feel heard or valued, and usually the result for the listener is that they have NO idea what they just heard. Active listening requires you to devote all of your attention to the person talking, and really try to understand their message. [Read more…]