The art of listening
I had a beautiful experience a few weeks back: I had lunch with a lovely
artist friend. She is one who does a lot of research of her new work in
tapestries before she begins to start the actual piece. I was talking
about my experiences from writing my book, for myself, on my life. I
noticed almost immediately, that something was different; she was
actually listening to what I had to say. She asked questions when she
needed clarification, made comments on my logic, and I felt was
genuinely interested in what I had to say. The communication helped me
clarify and feel more confident in what I was trying to say. There was
no combative or negation of my opinion, no right or wrong, just
understanding; food for my next nights thinking.
I talked to another artist friend about my experience that helped me
understand what had transpired. I made another luncheon date but this
time I was going to ask her some questions about her life and work; I
was going to, “just listen “, as she had done for me. When we were done,
I asked her how I did listening; she replied “I give you a 10 out of
ten”. I learned so much from that discussion.
It was wonderful just listening and understanding what someone else
thought, believed, and had experienced. I did not feel that I had to
accept, for myself, what she had said; I could take and expand my
concept of the issue with her perception. If I could not reconcile her
concept with my understanding of the continuance of values,
then I had to dig deeper into my understanding of the subject until I
could expand my thinking to include both. This might mean asking
more questions to her to clarify her position.
So what is the art of listening?
It starts with hearing what is being said in its entirety; not thinking
about your response so that your attention closes out the rest of what
you assume is going to be said. I could tell by her eyes, when my words
triggered off something in her mind, and I learned that she was actually
thinking whether she understood what I was saying. I could stop talking
and wait until she returned, usually with one of her “help me understand
better” questions. Her questions would usually bring me to thinking
about what was my view below the surface of what I had said and needed a
better explanation both for myself and for her.
So, the art of listening includes not only hearing, but listening to all
that was said, then communicating what you understood and asking for
clarification when needed. The final step is to realize and enjoy that
you have learned something about the other person.
Find quote on not taking on someone else’s position.
continuance of values – my belief – the art of belief
asking more questions Plato – teaching by questions
nights thinking - the art thinking link