There is no argument, great communication is built on great listening. Most people today do not understand how to actively listen to one another. Listening is different than hearing. Hearing is a physiological response to sound. All people who do not suffer physical impairments can hear. Not all those that can hear, know how to listen. How would they, we simply aren't taught the simple but important steps to insuring that your partner or spouse, child or family member actually feels heard.
Feelings of entitlement cripple our ability to listen. They shrink our thoughts of care and concern into petty, self-serving complaints. Entitlement makes open, balanced communication impossible because balanced communication requires that both people have the ability to express their opinions in loving and respectful way while they actively listen to the opinions of others. In short, entitlement it is one of the most toxic attitudes and feelings we can bring to a relationship.
People blinded by entitlement love espousing their opinions, but are less developed in their abilities to care about other people's perspectives. People who are lost in a sense of entitlement usually believe that their way is the right way, the only way, and listening is a skill that the other person, to whom they are complaining, needs to learn.
Emotional intelligence strengthens our ability to listen. It strengthens our ability to make valid constructive points, while respectfully addressing the needs and concerns of another. How well do you believe you listen?Listening requires a conscious commitment to learning and understanding. We can hear at birth but we must learn to listen. The art of listening is comprised of simple but necessary basic skills. Enjoy the L.I.S.T.E.N. T.O. video below, then review the list just underneath the video to discover how many of these necessary listening skills you have already developed.
To help you easily remember these important listening skills we will use the acronym:
Look at the person (make eye contact, what color are their eyes?)
Inviting posture (respect space, show empathy with your body)
Sense of connection (mirror appropriate expressions)
Take time to reflect (what are they really saying)
Experience their perspective (see the world through their lenses)
Never attack (personal attacks shut communication down!)
Take a breath (don’t respond to quickly, consider your response)
Offer a response (communication is a gift, offer it as one)
Personality and relationship expert Dawn Billings is the author and architect of the Primary Colors Relationship Personality Tests and Insight Tools licensed and widely used by relationship experts around the nation.
Dawn is the founder of RelationshipHelp.com and the creator of the comprehensive ONLINE relationship programs RelationshipHelpAtHome.com Dawn is the executive director of the RelationshipHelpResort.com in Arizona where she hosts private couples retreats to help people strengthen and heal their broken relationships.